U.S. Birth Rate Hits Record Low

by Stephanie Czekalinski, National Journal  |  published on November 30, 2012

The U.S. birth rate dropped to its lowest level in more than 90 years, led by a drop among immigrants, according to a report data released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

In 2011, the overall birth rate was 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest since at least 1920, Pew reported, citing numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics. The birth rate reached 122.7 in 1957, the peak of the Baby Boom. After the mid-1970s, the birth rate stabilized at about 65 to 70 births per 1,000 women annually, until the beginning of the Great Recession.

Since 2007, both the U.S. birth rate (the number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15-44) and the number of births have dropped significantly, according to the report.

Overall, the birth rate declined 8 percent from 2007 to 2010. Among U.S.-born women, the birth rate dropped 6 percent. The decline among foreign-born women was 14 percent. Among Mexican women, the birth rate fell even more, to 23 percent.

Despite the recent decline, foreign-born moms continue to give birth to a disproportionate share of the country’s babies, the report said. In 2010, immigrants represented about 13 percent of the U.S. population while foreign-born mothers accounted for 23 percent of all births.

After 2007, the number of U.S. births, which had been rising since 2002, fell abruptly, according to the report. This decrease was also led by immigrant women. Overall the number of births between 2007 and 2010 dropped 7 percent, pulled down by a 13-percent drop in births to immigrants. By comparison, births to U.S.-born women dropped only 5 percent.

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