Decreasing Fertility Rates in the US

fertility rates

Reproductive rates and fertility rates among US women fell from 1990 to 2014, in spite of a spike between the mid-90s and mid-2000s, according to data from the CDC. The report shows that both the total fertility rate and the total gross reproduction rate declined by around 10 percent during that time. The decline in both rates was noticed among women of all races except Cuban American women.

The potential impact of current fertility patterns on reproduction is measured by the total fertility rate. This rate looks at a hypothetical cohort of 1,000 women and indicates the average number of births expected in that cohort based on the birth rates observed in a given year. In 1990, the total fertility rate was 2,018.0 births per 1,000 women in the hypothetical cohort and by 2014 that number had fallen to 1,862.5 per 1,000, a decrease of approximately 10 percent. The rate initially declined five percent from 1990 to 1997, but then it increased again from 1997 to 2007 by eight percent. From 2007 to 2013 the rate dropped again by 12 percent, with a slight increase of less than one percent between 2013 and 2014.

The report states that the total fertility rate between 1990 and 2014 was below replacement level every year except 2006 and 2007. The replacement level is the level where a generation can replace itself exactly and is considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women.

The total gross reproduction rate also declined by about 10 percent during this period. This rate again looks at a hypothetical cohort of 1,000 women, but this time represents the average number of daughters born based on age-specific birth rates in a given year. It is similar to the total fertility rate, but represents only female births because the reproduction rate is heavily dependent on the number of females. The total gross reproduction rate dropped from 1,015 per 1,000 in 1990 to 909 per 1,000 in 2014. Like the total fertility rate, this rate also declined from 1990 to 1997, rose between 1997 and 2007, then fell again through 2013 with a slight increase between 2013 and 2014.

Declining birth rates lead to a decline in population. This is measured by the intrinsic rate of natural increase which determines the rate of population size change based on the continuation of the birth and mortality rates of a given year. A negative rate shows population decline, while a positive rate signifies population growth. The rate was -3.7 per 1,000 population in 2014, and was negative throughout the period studied except in 2006 and 2007.

The report from the CDC shows that fertility and reproductive rates have been decreasing among US women in recent years, impacting women regardless of race. The good news is that as fertility rates have been decreasing, infertility treatments have improved in recent years, offering hope to many couples who experience difficulties getting pregnant. If you are considering infertility treatment, contact us to make an appointment and learn more.

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