A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that not only is the nation’s fertility rate in decline, but it is also at a record low.

The total fertility rate in 2017 was 1,765.5 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate in 32 tears and well below the estimated 2,100 births per 1,000 women needed for the population to replace itself. The good news is that between 2017 and 2018 the birth rate dropped seven percent among teens ages 15 to 19. However, the drop continues for women up to the age of 35, with a four percent drop among women 20 to 24; three percent among women 25 to 29; and one percent among women 30 to 34.

photo: Greyerbaby via Pixabay

Not all births are in decline, however. Despite the overall decline in younger women having babies, the fertility rate among American women over 35 had increased. The birth rate rose one percent among women aged 35 to 39 and two percent among women 40 to 44. Not a tremendous increase, but it does support the growing trend towards starting families at a later age.

The report also found an increase in women receiving prenatal care, with 77.5 percent of women received first trimester prenatal care in 2018, up from 77.3% in 2017. That increase indicates potential improvement in overall access to health care for women.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

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