U.S. births fell to a 32-year low in 2018, dipping 2% from 2017 to 3,788,235 births. The latest figure is part of an ongoing trend, according to a new federal report. Last year marked the fourth consecutive year of declining births in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Birthrates declined in nearly all age and racial groups. Slight gains were seen in births among women in their late 30s and early 40s, according to the CDC.
The news of declining birth rates was a surprise to demographers, who expected the U.S.'s growing economy and job market to drive birth rates higher.
Experts believe that political turmoil, high housing costs and a gloomy outlook for the future are driving birth rates down among people of childbearing age.
Current and would-be parents responded to the report on social media, citing other obstacles that stand in the way of childbearing, such as high insurance costs, difficulty finding childcare, lack of parental leave and stagnant wages.
Millennials earn 20% less than baby boomers despite being better educated. Student loan debt is making it unaffordable for young people to raise a family. According to the USDA, it costs $233,610 to raise a child, or about $13,900 per year.
The trend is also a reflection of a cultural shift in which more Americans are delaying marriage and childbirth. In 2017, women in their early 30s had a higher birth rate than women in their 20s for the first time ever. Some experts contribute this phenomenon to younger people having a bleak outlook on the future. However, many people of childbearing age have chimed in to say that they simply have no desire to have children.
Issues of infertility and sexual dysfunction also contribute to lower birth rates. "According to a 2015 study from the CDC, 6% of people aged 15-44 experienced infertility, and 12% of women in this age bracket had difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a full-term pregnancy," states viagrarezept.com. More young men are also having difficulty in the bedroom. A recent survey from Cosmopolitan found that 80% of men between 18 and 38 experienced erectile dysfunction at least once.
The trend of declining birthrates is a complex issue with myriad factors and variables at play. But one bright spot in the CDC's report is the decline of births among teens.
Births among teenagers fell 7% in 2018 to 17.4 births per 1,000 teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age. The rate of teen births has fallen 58% since 2007 and 72% since 1991.