November 29, 2011
[NOTE: The below report has been updated to fully include all the new information available in the 2010 Preliminary Birth Data report.]
JESSE POWELL writes:
The National Center for Health Statistics has released the Final Birth Data for 2009 and the Preliminary Birth Data for 2010. The pattern of “risk aversion” presumably in response to the economic crisis is continuing. The ratio of births out-of-wedlock grew slowly from 2007 to 2010 but during this period fertility and the proportion of women of reproductive age who were married fell sharply. “Risk Aversion” can explain the decline in fertility among both married and unmarried women as well as a reluctance to get married which might explain the proportion of women who are married accelerating its long standing decline.
Since 2007, the United States has seen a sharp fall in its fertility rate. Looking specifically at the white population in the United States in 1940, during the Great Depression just after World War II started, the white Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 2.229 children per woman. This rate then grew steadily reaching a peak in 1957 at the height of the Baby Boom with a white TFR of 3.625. After 1957 the fertility rate then fell steadily, plumbing the depths with a rate of 1.652 children per woman in 1976, the absolute low-point of white fertility up to this time. After 1976, white fertility slowly but persistently crept upwards reaching a high of 1.908 children per woman in 2007. In the three years since 2007, however, the white fertility rate has dropped sharply hitting a TFR of 1.791 in 2010; the lowest fertility rate since 1997.
In the past three years, from 2007 to 2010, the white TFR has fallen by 6%; for blacks it has fallen by 8% and for Hispanics it has fallen by an amazing 17%. In 2010 the Hispanic TFR rate was only 12% above replacement level. If the Total Fertility Rate among Hispanics falls as quickly from 2010 to 2012 as it did from 2008 to 2010 then in 2012 the Hispanic TFR will be 2.05, below replacement level. Read More »