According to new CDC report, fewer women in the United States are giving birth than ever, and this dropping rate is likely due to personal choice, not infertility. In the first three months of 2016, the fertility rate was 59.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (or fewer than six babies per 100 for women). This number marks the lowest number since the CDC began tracking birth and fertility rates in 1909 — general fertility rates have been declining by more than ten percent since 2007. The CDC’s report also noted drops in teen birthrates and in birthrates for women ages 15-29. There was, however, an increase in birthrates among women ages 30-44, reflecting the impact of infertility treatments in older women as well as “increasing age of marriage, increasing education levels and increasing labor force participation.” The CDC doesn’t comment on whether this decreasing rate is cause for worry (low fertility and birth rates can be associated with diminished economic growth and concern about how to provide for aging populations), but it’s noteworthy that research shows having kids in America is stressful, expensive, takes a huge toll on finances and happiness, and is not generally supported by family-friendly work and leave policies.
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