January 15, 2019
New data, released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, attracted attention by showing the wide variation in fertility among states. They also prompted commentators to ask: Are kids getting too expensive for Americans to have?
That Americans are having fewer babies is not exactly news. The “total fertility rate,” a measure demographers use that estimates the number of children a woman can expect to bear in her lifetime, has been declining since the Great Recession. The rate for the whole population has been below “replacement”—2.1, the number needed to keep the population from shrinking—more or less continuously for decades.
Data in fact show that the U.S. fertility rate has hit a 42-year low. The rate has risen above replacement for just a couple of years between 1972 and today.
What the most recent CDC report contributes to the conversation is a picture of the way that fertility rates vary among states. Two—South Dakota and Utah—have rates above replacement (2.27 and 2.12, respectively).
This article was posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 7:53 am