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In a recent report from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics released last month, it found that birth rates are at the lowest they have been in decades. The report analyzed provisional data received from birth records in 2023, finding that they have been declining for years. According to the report, there were 3.59 million births in the U.S. in 2023, which was a two percent decline from 2022. The report defined the number of births as “the level at which a given generation can exactly replace itself.” The report noted, “The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and consistently below replacement since 2007.”

The CDC found that from 2022 to 2023, fertility rates declined for all women. There was a one percent decline in fertility for Hispanic women, a three percent decline for white and Asian women, and a five percent for American Indian and African American women. As for Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian women, their fertility rate remained “essentially unchanged.”

Although 2023 had the lowest birth rate in decades, Dr. Brady Hamilton, the report’s lead author, spoke with CNN sharing that the recent drop is not out of the ordinary. Hamilton said that researchers have seen “larger declines in the past” and that the 2023 drop “fits the general pattern.” The report also found that the birth rate among teenagers dropped to its lowest numbers since 1991. “The highest rates have, over time, been shifting towards women in their 30s whereas before it used to be with women in their 20s,” Hamilton added. “One factor, of course, is the option to wait. We had a pandemic, or there’s an economic downturn, let’s say — women in their 20s can postpone having a birth until things improve and they feel more comfortable. For older women, the option of waiting is not as viable.”

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