American women are currently having fewer children than normal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates are down 3.8 percent since 2015. The Demographic Intelligence projects recorded 3.84 million births in 2017, a fall in numbers compared to the 3.95 million in 2016. Numerous factors may be playing a role in this decline.
While the fertility rate for women over 40 has been increasing, there has been a decrease in pregnancy rates among younger women. One factor in this phenomenon is the falling rate of teenage pregnancies. This decline has begun to affect women in their 20s to 30s. Even though America is currently growing out of an economic recession, this decreasing fertility rate among women has not improved. In fact, it has worsened.
Because women today are getting married later than the older generations before them, the percentage of married women at peak childbearing age has fallen. As a result, the average age in which women give birth for the first time has risen. Today, the average age is over 26 years old. The average age is over 30 in Europe. The U.S. actually has the youngest age of first birth than any developed country.
The use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) has helped lower the rate of unintended pregnancies. Usage of LARCs rose from 1.5 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2011 to 2013. Emergency contraceptives have also helped prevent unintended pregnancies. Some consider these types of contraceptives to be abortions, but they are not listed in abortion statistics. Emergency contraceptive use has increased ten percent since 1995. As a result of the rising use of contraceptives and high expense of fertilization techniques, Americans are getting better at avoiding pregnancy than they are at achieving it.
While millennials are still making their way toward marriage and home ownership, there is no guarantee of an upcoming baby boom to combat the baby bust that has been prevalent in the last decade. Maintaining economic growth and managing Social Security benefits may become difficult in the future as a result.