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US Fertility Rates Are Collapsing Across the Country, and No One Knows Who to Blame

The focus in 2017 end has been on Americans having more children.

This issue has been raised in the context of new data is available with regard to the country’s collapsing fertility rates.

Women are now indeed having fewer babies and at older ages as compared to what they decided upon in the past three decades.

Fertility and birth rates are no doubt among the most closely monitored indicators of a country’s existing economic health. In case the population is too high then it leads to problems of unemployment and social unrest. If the population is too low, economies can rapidly contract, and a small working-age population has to support a large retired population. The United States is somewhat more buffered because of its relatively high levels of immigration, but if the decline in fertility does continue, demographers say, the country may also face an extreme population imbalance in the future.

Several theories have been expounded in the form of social, economic, scientific, and environmental with regard to falling level of fertility in the United States. Many do agree that cultural shifts, such as women getting married later and focusing on education or work, do play a big role.

Some have even felt that the decline could be influenced by sperm quality. Based upon recent medical journal publications, it has been observed that exposure to pollutants might also be harming reproductive health, including the motility and quantity of sperm, which could also delay childbearing and overall fertility.

Data has shown that several shifts affecting fertility are occurring “in the transition to adulthood.” The biggest recent drops in the given birthrate have been among teenagers as well as people in their 20s. The declining total fertility rates are children not born at the moment, but the hope is that they are delayed, not forgone.

It is expected that fertility rates will, in fact, drop even lower in the coming future. It is therefore important for a country to be prepared for the impact on Social Security and the workforce but there is no reason why one needs to panic.

The emphasis needs to be on the number of people but their productivity. Efforts need to be made investments in education to enhance the productivity of younger individuals to compensate for the reduction in numbers.

The most recent decline has of course been among the minorities as the fertility rate among Hispanic women did drop. The rate for whites has dropped by about 4 percent, for blacks about 11 percent and for Asians about 5 percent.

The biggest falls have been registered among younger women, but last year the birthrate also declined for women in their 30s, which does happen to be an unusual development, demographers said. The rate had been rising for that group, as more women delayed childbearing.

Social forces are also operating and women, on the whole, are postponing marriage, as they are becoming more educated and are more likely to be the primary breadwinners for their households.

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