American Fertility Still Declining

It seems like about every six months a report comes out about how fertility rates in the United States are still quite low. The Pope has even taken to preaching against the use of house pets as substitutes for having children.

Well, it is that time again. Aljazeera, the network that bought out Al Gore’s old media company is reporting on the bad news. (I have to wonder if the old network would have reported this as good news.)

For the second year in a row, deaths of non-Hispanic whites outnumbered births from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013, according to population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“These are the only two years in U.S. history when more non-Hispanic whites died than were born,” said Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute. Births have been fewer for some time, “but the decline since the onset of the Great Recession has been precipitous.”

The Census Bureau estimates that there were just under 2 million births to whites who are not Hispanic, compared with 2.3 million births at the peak of the economic boom in 2006–07 — a 13 percent drop in just six years.

Latest data also show a decline in births among Hispanic women, another probable result of the economic downturn that has dried up jobs and slowed the flow of Hispanic immigration.

“For the second straight year, Asians lead Hispanics in immigration,” said William Frey, demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The Hispanic declines in both immigration and births are largely due to the recession and its aftermath.”

The number of Hispanic women of prime childbearing age grew by 16 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the National Center for Health Statistics’ (NCHS) preliminary report.

“Yet Hispanic births diminished during the period,” Johnson said. “This would only have been possible if Hispanic birthrates dropped significantly.”

The report notes that this means the economic consequences of the economic downturn are going to be felt for years and years. By deciding not to have children, people are extending the economic damage into the next generation.

demographic winter