Birth rates for women under 30 in the United States have hit an all-time low, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While young women continue to wait longer to have children, the birth rate increased for those 30 and over.
Released last week, the report found there were 3.93 million births in 2013, down less than one percent compared to 2012, and nine percent from 2007, the sixth straight year the birth rate declined, the found.
The CDC study contained data from the Natality Data File from the National Vital Statistics System. The vital statistics Natality File is based on information derived from birth certificates and includes information for all births occurring in the United States.
The study separated white-non Hispanic, Hispanic and non-Hispanic black birth rates. While childbearing has declined overall — and for white and Hispanic women — it has not dropped significantly for non-Hispanic black women.
Among different age groups, rates declined 10 percent to 26.5 per 1,000 among teenagers, three percent to 80.7 births for women 20 to 24 and one percent to 105.5 births for women 25 to 29. The figures continue a trend of dropping birth rates for women under 30 over the past two decades.
Many reasons — careers, the cost of living, economic insecurity and unemployment — help explain the decline, according to a 2012 fact sheet from the Population Reference Bureau.
Steadily increasing are birth rates for women aged 30 and over. Since the rate for women between the ages of 30 to 34 and from 35 to 39 rose by one and two percent, respectively, to 98.0 and 49.3 births per 1,000. The rate for women aged 40 to 44 remained at 10.4; the rate for women 45 to 49 increased from 0.7 to 0.8 per 1,000.
Women are generally choosing to wait to have children over the last 30 years, and many are not starting families until into their 30s or above. Birth rates for women 35 and over are at the highest level in almost 50 years.
Though childbearing is in decline overall, more babies are likely than ever to survive birth and are less likely to be born prematurely, which points to recent progress in improving pregnancy survival rates.
By U.S. state, California, New Mexico and Colorado are among those with declines of 15 percent or more; New York, Texas and Washington experienced drops of between 10 and 14 percent, and Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota saw five to nine percent declines.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.