US Birth Rate Lowest Ever

Recession's effects play big role
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2012 2:32 AM CST
US Birth Rate Lowest Ever
The US birth rate has dropped to its lowest ever.   (Shutterstock)

The US birthrate last year was the lowest since records began in 1920, dropping to 63.2 per 1,000 women, Pew data shows. Between 2007 and 2010, the rate fell 8% among all women aged 15 to 44. It fell 14% among foreign-born women, compared to 6% among women born in the US. And among Mexican immigrant women, it dropped 23%. The recession appears to have played a major role: Foreign-born women were deeply affected by the downturn, and Hispanic women born in the US and abroad have seen household wealth drop more than any other group since 2007.

"Latinos have been hit particularly hard by the recession, and the downturn in births is especially sharp for immigrants," says a study author. Latino women's increased access to contraception may also have been a factor, analysts say. Another factor: Immigration from Mexico hit a net zero in 2010, the Wall Street Journal notes, meaning that the number of Mexicans moving here matched the number returning to Mexico. Some 3.95 million babies were born in the US last year, the data shows. The birth rate peaked in 1957, at 122.7 per 1,000 women, the BBC notes. (More birth rate stories.)

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