American birth rate drops to lowest point ever… and 40 per cent of newborns are to unwed mothers

  • Per cent of  babies born to unmarried women was highest among teens
  • There were  3,953,593 births in the U.S. in 2011, one per cent less than 2010
  • More older  women having newborns as women delay families

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:15:03 EST, 2  November 2012| UPDATED:15:03 EST, 2 November 2012


The birth rate in the United States dropped  to an all-time low in 2011 with one percent fewer births than in the year  before, according to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention.

And of all the babies born last year, more  than 40 per cent were born to unmarried women.

The per cent of babies born to unmarried  women was highest among teens but the per cent delivered by unmarried women of  older ages increased from 2010 to 2011.

Dropped: The U.S. birth rate dropped one per cent from 2010 to 2011, the lowest ever recorded 

Dropped: The U.S. birth rate dropped one per cent from  2010 to 2011, the lowest ever recorded

Findings are based on approximately 100 per  cent of registered vital records occurring in calendar year 2011, which were  received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics, the report  said.

The 2011 preliminary number of U.S. births  was 3,953,593 – one per cent less than 2010.

Rates varied depending on the woman’s  background.

There was a steep drop in births for women  15-19 years old where the rate declined from 34. 2 per cent to 31.3 per cent,  while in 20 to 24 year  old the decline was from 90.0 to 85.3 per  cent.

Where's daddy: Single mothers gave birth to more than 40 per cent of newborns last year 

Where’s daddy: Single mothers gave birth to more than 40  per cent of newborns last year

Older groups held steady with only a small  decline from 108.3 to 107.2 per cent for ages 25 to 29 and a steady 96.5 per  cent from year to year for those age 30-34.

Researcher said the data shows women are  choosing to have family later in life, and rates among older women actually  increased.

Births declined fro most race and Hispanic  origin groups and the birth rate declined for Hispanic, non-Hispanic, black and  American Indian and Alaskan native women.

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Recession pushes US birth rates to an all-time low


It’s looking like a bad time to invest in the diaper industry. Birth rates in the US reached an all-time low in 2011.

US fertility has been declining steadily since 2008, according to a report published last week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The report was compiled from birth certificates registered across the US.

In 2008, the average number of children per woman was 2.1, roughly the figure needed to replace each parent and keep the population stable. In 2011, this figure dropped to 1.9.

“It’s not necessarily worrisome,” says Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, DC. “But if we were to see a sustained drop over five to 10 years, that may be a concern.”

The falling fertility rate is tightly tied to the economic downturn during the past four years, Mather says. Couples are putting off having children, and women’s salaries have become more important to household income, he says.

Rebound effect?

If the economy bounced back, birth rates would probably increase, says Mather. But it is not clear whether that would be the case for long. It might be counterbalanced by the long-term increase in the number of women entering college and the workforce who are subsequently delaying having children or having fewer of them.

The report found that the number of women giving birth in their 30s increased by 3 per cent in 2011 compared with 2010. Women in their 40s also had more children than in 2010. “If you’re younger and the economy isn’t good, you have the option to delay having a child,” says Brady Hamilton, a co-author of the report, based at the NCHS headquarters in Hyattsville, Maryland. “For older women, that’s not a viable option.”

The US fertility rate is still far higher than those of most European countries: Germany, for instance, averages 1.36 children per woman. And the welfare problems caused by having an ageing population aren’t yet as urgent as they are in Japan, say, where nearly a quarter of the population is older than 65, Mather says