U.S. Fertility Reaches All-Time Low as People Choose Things Other Than Children

Ronald Bailey:

The U.S. total fertility rate has dropped to below 1.73 births per woman, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. This record low edges out the previous U.S. fertility nadir of 1.74 births per woman back in 1976.

U.S. rates appear to be following the downward trend seen in other developed countries. The overall total fertility rate for the 28 members of the European Union is just under 1.6 births per woman; Japan is at 1.4, and Canada is 1.5.

In a 2010 study, University of Connecticut anthropologists Nicola Bulled and Richard Sosis found that fertility drops as female life expectancy increases. As global average life expectancy rose from 52.6 years in 1960 to 72.4 years today, the global total fertility rate fell by more than half, from 5 to 2.4 births per woman.

CDC US abortion data:

In 2016, 623,471 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 48 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2016 was 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 186 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Compared with 2015, the total number and rate of reported abortions fell by 2%, and the abortion ratio decreased by 1%. Additionally, from 2007 to 2016, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 24%, 26%, and 18%, respectively. In 2016, all three measures reached their lowest level for the entire period of analysis (2007-2016).