Monday, April 12, 2010

U.S. Fertility Rate Dropping Below Replacement Level

The National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC just released preliminary U.S. birth statistics for 2008.  The report, which you can view here revealed some interesting fodder for discussion:

1.  The birth rate in the United States fell 2% in 2008 to 2,085.5 births per 1,000 women.  This is BELOW the population replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. 

2.  Teen pregnancies also fell in 2008: The birth rate for US teenagers 15-19 fell 2 percent in 2008 to 41.5 per 1,000, reversing a brief two-year increase that had halted the long-term decline from 1991 to 2005.

3.  Sadly, the number and percent of births to unmarried women both increased to historic levels.  

4.  For the OB/GYN-inclined in the audience, the cesarean delivery rate rose for the 12th straight year, to 32.3 percent of all births. The percentage of births born preterm declined by 3%, to 12.3%.  The rate of low birthweight was unchanged for 2007-08 at 8.2 percent (except for minor decreases for hispanic and black mothers).

Some will recoil and others will cheer at various aspects of this new data.  I will reserve my perspective for now but hope to comment later if time allows.  I will certainly be bringing this up at work tomorrow. 

To all of you that did have a baby in 2008, thank you!  You gave birth to hope and to the future.  But, as any parent knows, birth is just the beginning of our tough job.  The road of parenthood is not easy and we have years of work ahead of us, but as parents we are building up treasures for the hope and life of the world.  Keep up the good work!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

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