In a recently reported study, the CDC stated that due to the fertility and birth rates dropping worldwide experts are getting worried. Because of the rate drops in our own United States, we are actually having problems replacing our population numbers.
The study, which looked at the top fertility rates for each state in the US, for the year 2017, with the exception of Utah and South Dakota, all other forty-eight states showed a marked decrease in fertility and reported births. What does this mean exactly is a decrease in both popularity and sustainability?
In order to help put the seriousness of this report into perspective, let's look at the numbers in specific. The total fertility rate, or TFR, calculates the total number of lifetime births anticipated within 1,000 women. A report published in the Lance, in the 1950’s women were very fertile and averaging 4.7 births each. However, in 2017 that number had fallen by half at 2.4 births per female.
These reported rates were on a global scale, but even so, the developed countries in the West were only showing a meager 1.7 births per female. When the rates drop to 2.1, or 2,100 births per 1,000 women, there kicks in real concern. The current data, for 2017, shows that the rate is 1,764, which puts it 16% below what numbers are needed to maintain stability.
Now, these rates do not take into account immigrants or death numbers. Also keep in mind that in the United States, fertility rates have been progressively decreasing over the last few years now. Although there is no real concrete evidence to explain the decline, scientists and researchers have a few ideas to the cause.
One of the major suspected reasons is economic status—plain and simple. With the rising costs of living, as well as raising children, many couples are choosing to only have one child or no children at all. With the current difficulty of finding gainful employment or acquiring an adequate home also play a large part in the overall reasons.
Another reason seems to be the proliferance of sexual education, which in turn has significantly reduced teenage pregnancies. Along with many women choosing to have children late in life putting off child-rearing for their social and career, ambitions are then finding it hard to conceive.
Whatever the reason, the low rates will take at least one generation, if not more, to get the numbers back in line. Until then, we may see a day where there are more parents and grandparents than there are children.
Is this reduction in population something that we really need to worry about?