DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - The United States is having a fertility crisis.
According to a new government report, the raw number of babies born in the U.S. has fallen to a 30-year low. Likewise, the general fertility rate has fallen to the lowest ever recorded.
The National Center for Health Statistics released the report on Thursday. The general fertility rate in 2017 was 60.2 births annually per 1,000 women aged 15–44. This is the lowest US general fertility rate since records began in 1909.
The raw number of births nationwide in 2017 was about 3.8 million. This is down 2 percent from 2016 and is the lowest recorded number of births in 30 years.
To explain this decline, some have pointed to the wider use of contraceptives and abortifacients. Reporting on similar statistics in February this year, an article from The New York Times cited "the increasing availability and usage of emergency contraceptives," a phrase which includes abortifacients such as the Plan B pill.
Another contributing factor is that millennials tend to delay marriage, often marrying at a much older age than was usual in previous generations. The diminishing of face-to-face interaction and the explosion of pornography addiction as a substitute for relationships with real humans may also be contributing to the lowering birth rate.
One potential cause for the decrease in births is a shift in immigration trends. Immigrants from Asia are becoming an increasingly larger percentage of the U.S. immigrant population, and they tend to have fewer children on average than immigrants from other parts of the world.
Among the different age groups for women ages 15–44, the birth rate among teenagers was the one that took the sharpest dive in 2017.
The only age group to see an increase in fertility was women in their 40s, whose general fertility rate rose 2 percent from the year prior.
The falling U.S. birth rate could spell a bleak future for millennials when they retire in future decades. Because they are having fewer children, there will be fewer people around to take care of them when they get old.
Demographic decline like this is even more dramatic in Japan. As Church Militant recently reported, Japan's birth rate has been low for many years and is only continuing to fall.
This has created a growing demand for automation, artificial intelligence and robots in Japan to make up for the shrinking number of young people in the work force.