The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report on birth rates in the United States reveals that overall, the numbers are dropping. The 4.2 million babies born in 2008 represent a 2 percent drop over the previous year and the first time the annual birth rate has declined since the beginning of this decade.
Experts point to two possible explanations for this drop: Immigration and economics. With fewer people coming to the U.S., fewer babies are being born. But for those already in the U.S., it would seem that money — or lack thereof — is playing a large role in family planning.
But surprisingly, there is one group who bucked the trend and defied economic insecurities: Women over 40.
While birth rates were down among women in every group from teenagers to thirty-somethings, the rate rose by 4% for women in their early 40’s. Not only that, women in their late 40’s are having more babies as well.
What gives? Obviously, one cannot put off having a child indefinitely. Women who have been delaying parenthood until their careers were on track and they were financially set have been given a push by the ticking of their biological clocks. Economy be damned, it’s time to have that baby.
Other interesting 2008 statistic from the CDC report:
- The birth rate for teens dropped 2%
- The birth rate among unmarried women declined almost 2%
- The cesarean delivery rate rose to 32.3%, the 12th consecutive year of increase
- Premature births declined by 3%
If the CDC’s preliminary numbers for 2009 are any indication, birth rates in the U.S. will continue to decline. With more families putting off having babies due to money worries, one could reasonably expect the eventual economic recovery coincide with a baby boom, right? What about you? Are you waiting for the economy to bounce back before having a child?
Image: Ann Gordon/Flickr