The birth rate in the United States rose slightly last year, ending a steady decline since 2014, the federal government reported on Tuesday.
The country recorded 56.6 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2021, an increase of 1% from the previous year, when there was a sharp drop, according to provisional data released. by the National Vital Statistics System, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 3,659,289 births in 2021, an increase of about 46,000, or 1%, from 2020.
Until last year, the birth rate had fallen by an average of 2% every year since 2014.
The numbers further clouded the question of how the pandemic has affected the birth rate. Early evidence from 2020, when births fell 4% from the previous year, suggests women may have delayed pregnancy.
The birth rate is just one piece of the country’s larger demographic puzzle. With low birth rates, declining immigration and rising deaths, the country’s population has grown slowly over the past decade. High birth rates can cause a shortage of resources, like during the post-war baby boom years, while low birth rates can leave a country with too few people to take jobs or care for. of its older population.
A complex web of factors goes into a nation’s birth rate, including its economy – births tend to drop during times of economic distress. Women are waiting longer to have babies, and more are choosing not to have any at all.
Since 2007, the birth rate in the United States had fallen every year except in 2014, when it rose slightly before continuing the descent in 2015.
This decline coincides with the onset of the Great Recession, when millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes. (Despite frequent speculation, there’s usually no baby boom nine months after blizzards, power outages, and other one-time events that leave couples lonely and bored.)
In addition to the overall figures, recently released data showed that birth rates have declined among women aged 15-24, including a 6% decline to record highs among women aged 15-19 and a increase in women aged 25 to 49.