American women are having fewer children, and they are having them at a later age. government figures released on Tuesday to show Data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics – the statistical division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – showed a sharp decline in the birth rate in recent years, most women give birth to an average of 1.3 children, and the percentage of those giving birth at the age of 35 and older is increasing.

“Over the past decade, we’ve seen huge changes in when and how women give birth,” Alison Gamill, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies demographics and fertility, told CBS News.

According to the report, in 2015-2019, 56.7% of women aged 15-49 had at least one child. In 2019, the most recent year included, the birth rate for women ages 35-39 overall continued to rise, according to the CDC. The data shows that from 1985 to 2019, the birth rate also increased among women in their 40s.


National Center for Health Statistics

But, Hamill said, that’s not necessarily a bad trend.

Simply put, most women just wait until they feel ready. The reasons for the delay are varied, the report says, and include the pursuit of higher education, an expanding workforce, changes in family values, relationship instability and financial considerations. The study also found that women who are expecting tend to be better off economically and in more stable domestic situations. Almost half of the women who gave birth at the age of 30 or older had a higher education.

“The main question we have to ask is, will women who are expecting be able to have the children they want?” – said Hamill.

The report also notes a trend toward more Americans having children outside of marriage. Almost half (47.2%) of first births in 2015-2019 occurred outside of marriage, but the number decreased if the mother received some higher education.

In another report, teen pregnancy has plummeted, with researchers reporting a record low birth rate in 2019 for teens aged 15-19.

For men, while the average age of first-time fathers has been higher than the average age of first-time mothers since the CDC began collecting data, Tuesday’s report found that men are now also waiting even longer . In 2011-2014, the average age of the first parents was 25.5 years. Over the next five years, it rose to 26.4.

But the drop in birth rates has raised concerns about the negative consequences for the country’s tax base and workers. the aging of American society.

“We need a long-term, stable workforce to sustain our economy,” said Dr. John Roe, a Columbia University professor who specializes in health policy and the management of the elderly. Shifts in immigration and technology policies, as well as changes in work and retirement requirements that allow people to stay productive in the workforce for longer, could help mitigate the effects on the economy, Roe said.

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