ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Americans are having fewer babies, spelling crisis for future generations.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported Wednesday that yearly births for 2020 were down 4% — a 100% increase in the annual rate of decline over the past six years. The total fertility rate reached a record low of 1,637.5 births per 1000 women, vastly lower than the 2,100 births required to sustain the population in future decades.
Analyzing the CDC data, Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, noted, "The birthrate is the lowest it's ever been."
Johnson warned, "At some point, the question is going to be: The women who delayed having babies, are they ever going to have them? If they don't, that's a permanent notch in the American births structure."
He charted the birth rate versus number of deaths across the nation, showing half of U.S. states saw more deaths than births in 2020. He further asserted the situation isn't likely to improve.
"With births still declining and nearly 200,000 COVID-19 deaths already this year, deaths will likely exceed births again in many states in 2021," noted Johnson.
The baby bust was at its worst in December, reflecting an 8% drop since 2019. Throughout the entire year, there were just over 3.5 million births in the United States — the lowest number since 1979. Meanwhile, deaths, according to Johnson, are up 18% from 2019.
Typically, births decline during economic crises when women are uncertain about the future and therefore avoid having children. For example, in the early 1930s, at the start of the Great Depression, births were in freefall but rose again shortly after the economy began recovering later in the decade.
The anomaly was the Great Recession in 2008, which saw a similar drop in births. Despite strong economic recovery under Donald Trump, births in the United States continued to decrease.
Demographers believe a bad economy is not what's aging the population. It's culture. Alison Gemmill, a demographer at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, credits it to "a big social change in the United States," specifically related to a "gradual shift of family formation to later ages."
Molly Sharp, age 25, told The New York Times, "I'm far too young to be responsible for a child."
Sharp added, "I'm still learning about myself and being an adult. There's just no way I could take on that responsibility of having a kid right now."
Sharp, who has been engaged since December to a medical student who's been her partner for seven years, also noted, "None of my close friends are having kids." Her social attitude is confirmed in the statistics, as the average age for first-time mothers is now 27, a substantial increase of four years from 23 in 2010.
Teen births are also declining by nearly 8% — a change the left-leaning Wall Street Journal Editorial Board heralds as "good news."
But this is not good news for Catholics, as CDC data spanning from 2017 to 2019 showed nearly 40% of women aged 15–19 were currently using some form of contraception. This means many young women are not abstaining from sex. They are using contraception, which the Church explicitly states is an intrinsic evil.
Catholic teaching on contraception is best outlined by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae:
Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation — whether as an end or as a means.
As pro-contraceptive doctrines of the Left grow, record population decline grows as well. This decline is expected to bring economic and demographic problems for future generations. As the culture of the family has eroded, so has respect and obedience to Catholic sexual morality, leading demographers to believe there will be an underpopulation crisis in the coming years — one with no easy fix.