Birth Rate Plummets To Lowest in 40 Years in Worrisome Trend

By: Julia | Published: May 14, 2024

The birth rate in the United States has plummeted to a new record low not seen in 40 years, igniting many analyst worries over this continuing fertility trend.

For years, experts have warned that the U.S.’s falling birth rate could become a massive issue for the nation as a whole. It appears these warnings have been warranted now that the birth rate has seen a record low.

A New Low

According to an analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of babies that have been born last year has fallen to a new record low.

A close-up of a woman’s baby bump.

Source: Anastasiia Chepinska/Unsplash

The CDC came to this conclusion by looking at birth certificate data published for 2023. This data has revealed that at least 3,591,328 babies were born in the U.S. in 2023, down 2% from 2022.

A Continuing Trend

This latest data has proven that an ongoing birth trend in the United States doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

A newborn baby with a blanket.

Source: kelvin agustinus/Pexels

For many years, the U.S. birth rate had continued to decline, as fewer and fewer babies were born each year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic did change this trend — but only momentarily.

More Babies Were Born During the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. saw a slight uptick in the number of babies that were born throughout the country. Analysts jumped at these numbers, hoping that this would result in the birth rate increasing in the next few years.

A person holding a newborn baby’s feet.

Source: Omar Lopez/Unsplash

However, this new CDC report has confirmed that the pandemic uptick is over — and now, fewer women are choosing to have babies, for a variety of reasons.

A 2% Drop Each Year

According to this CDC report, this latest 2% drop is similar to what other data has shown for the last few years, save the pandemic years.

A close-up of a newborn baby’s hand.

Source: freestocks/Unsplash

Each year, it appears that the number of babies born drops an additional 2%. This has subsequently led to a new record that has some analysts worried about the population of the U.S.

A Large Decline

Interestingly, the decline seen from 2022 to 2023 is much larger than what was seen from 2021 to 2022. Brady Hamilton, one of the CDC’s report’s authors, explained this rather large difference.

A close-up of a baby’s hand holding its mother's hand.

Source: Aditya Romansa/Unsplash

“Last year, the difference was very small. This year, it’s something on the order of 74,000 or thereabouts. So it’s fairly large,” Hamilton stated.


A Fertility Rate Fall

As the total population of babies born in 2023 has fallen, so has the U.S.’s fertility rate. Now, 2023’s fertility rate equals 1,616.5 births per 1,000 women.

Many people walking on the streets of New York in the daytime.

Source: Christopher Burns/Unsplash

At this new rate, experts have explained that the population in the U.S. could start to shrink, as there aren’t enough babies being born. To keep the population stable and growing, the fertility rate needs to be about 2.1 children per U.S. woman.


Replacing Deaths in the U.S.

The fertility rate in the country has been low for decades now. In fact, since 1971, the U.S. fertility rate has been lower than what it needs to replace the deaths of citizens from the previous generations.

A close-up of a pregnant woman wearing a white dress outside.

Source: Ryan Franco/Unsplash

Therefore, this latest data only adds to the continuing trend of fewer U.S. women having children.


Where These Declines Are Happening

Now that this report is out, analysts have been interested in seeing exactly where these birth rate declines are happening. However, they’re finding that these declines in having babies are seen across the board.

The silhouette of a mother raising her child above her head in front of the ocean during sunset.

Source: Pixabay/Pexels

Birth rates haven’t just declined in one group of Americans. According to the report, birth rates have declined across just about all racial groups in the country.


C-Sections Increase

The CDC has also revealed that Cesarean deliveries have increased in the U.S. yet again, signifying another trend in the country.

A pregnant woman in the hospital in pain.

Source: Jimmy Conover/Unsplash

About 32.4% of new births were done by C-section in 2023, up from 2022’s 32.1%. The report has claimed that this is the highest rate of C-sections seen in one year since 2013.


Birth Rates Fall Throughout the World

The U.S. isn’t alone in seeing a significant, and constant, fall in birth rates with each passing year. Throughout much of the world, birth rates have fallen for a variety of reasons.

A woman holding her baby bump while standing outside on a balcony in the daytime.

Source: cottonbro studio/Pexels

South Korea has one of the lowest fertility rates in the entire world. In 2023, this rate dropped yet again for the fourth year in a row. Italy is also considered to be in a “crisis” mode over its dropping birth rate.


The U.S. Population

Analysts are worried about the decline in the U.S.’s fertility rate, as this could impact much of America’s society and economy. If the population as a whole starts to decrease, the economy could start to falter.

Many people walking around Grand Central Station.

Source: Nicolai Berntsen/Unsplash

However, the overall U.S. population has yet to actually decrease, even if American women are having fewer children. The U.S. Census Bureau has stated that the country’s population growth is the result of immigration, as well as a drop in deaths.