American women continue to wait longer to have children.
The birth rate fell for almost every group of women of reproductive age in the U.S.in 2017, reflecting a sharp drop that saw the fewest newborns since 1978, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers found that the provisional number of US births in 2017 was 3,853,472, which was down 2 percent from 2016 and a 30-year low.
General fertility rate for women age 15 to 44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women-the lowest rate since the government started keeping records over 100 years ago.
Fertility has fallen the most for the youngest women since 2007, but in the a year ago, declines were also registered for women in their 30s as well.
According to an AP report, experts say the falling birth rate may be due to millennials' changing attitudes about motherhood-essentially, they're more inclined to put it off and have fewer kids-as well as increased use of long-term contraception techniques. Even between 2016 and 2017 the rate has dropped 7 percent, but from 1990 this figure has come crashing down by an incredible 70 percent.
The numbers seem to correspond with what the Census Bureau and others have been predicting for years: that America's population growth will increasingly depend on immigrants, after decades in which the US enjoyed a relatively high fertility rate when compared to other developed countries.
The report showed women in their early 40s were the only group with a higher birth rate previous year, up 2 percent. For almost all age groups of women under 40 years there was a decline in birth rates, while an increase was seen among women in their early 40s. That figure is for women from 15-19 years old.
However, the birth rate actually went up a bit for women aged 40 to 44, the report found.
"This is the third year that the [overall] number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, and the lowest number of births in 30 years", said a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Normally, the drop-off in births is picked up by immigrants replenishing the population.