Birth rates in the U.S. fell 2 percent in 2018 to nearly 4 million, the lowest in three decades, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rates declined for women aged 20-34 and increased for women aged 35-44. In total, 3,791,712 births were registered in 2018, or 1,729.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The number marks the lowest number of births in 32 years.
For the nation’s population to remain stable, the rate would need to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women, according to data released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Alison Gemmill, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University, told The New York Times the data shows Americans who give birth “want to establish themselves before having children.”
“They also want to make sure they have adequate resources to raise quality children.”
The median age of first marriages has climbed from 21 to 28 for women since 1970 and 23 to 30 for men, likely one reason in the decline.
“This is a far cry from the 1950s, or even the 1980s and the 1990s,” William Frey, senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, told the Times.