The Birthrate in the US Is Declining – But Why?

Last year fewer newborns were born than in any year since 1987.  This birthrate number puts the U.S. even farther below the replacement rate than it already was because the number of babies being born is not high enough to replace the current generation. 

Why is this a problem?  Some experts believe that if the current decline continues the U.S. could find itself in economic and cultural turmoil.  This is because without enough new babies being born, eventually companies will not be able to replace an aging workforce and there will not be enough people paying taxes to keep the country stable.   

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The big question now is whether millennials are merely postponing having children, perhaps because they have not yet fully recovered from the effects of the Great Recession, or if this is a concerning trend that could that could plunge the country into a crisis. 

The evidence shows that the birthrate for every group fell – except for women in their forties who had more babies last year than in previous years.  This may mean that women are delaying having children rather than not having them at all, but it's too soon to tell what this means long-term.  

There have been a lot of reasons given for why we are seeing lower birthrates.  Some point to the drop in teen pregnancies as a good thing.  Others see women delaying having children to pursue more education and become more established in their careers as another good development. 

However, others believe that if the US wants to encourage women to become mothers we need to have more support for parents, such as paid leave and access to affordable, quality childcare.  Some point to a lack of well-paying jobs as a reason many are choosing to have fewer kids or none at all.

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What do you think?  How many children are you planning on having?  What might encourage you to have more?

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The Birthrate in the US Is Declining – But Why?

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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