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Study on Falling Birth Rate in the U.S.

 A new study suggests that the falling birth rate in the U.S. is not because of young Americans wanting fewer children, which has been fairly consistent from the 1960s to the 2000s.

For women who were born between 1965-69, the average was 2.2 for the number of children they wanted. This is nearly the same as women born between 1995-99, who on average wanted 2.1 children. The age for both groups was between 20-24.

The total fertility rate, however, was 1.71 in 2019, which is the lowest level since the 1970s.

According to Prof. Sarah Hayford, who is the co-author of the study, young adults today may be having a tougher time reaching their goals of having children, based on the results.

The study results are in line with evidence showing that young people don’t believe having children is currently a good idea for them. The data in the study isn’t able to provide a reason for this.

Hayford explains that it’s hard to have children in America right now, pointing to factors such as people being worried about the future more than they might have several decades ago, as well as things like the economy and childcare.

Prof. Karen Benjamin Guzzo conducted the study along with Prof. Hayford, and their results were published on Jan. 10, 2023.

They utilized data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which gathers information on things like births, marriages, and family life.

The researchers looked at cohorts, which refer to the scientifically used term for groups of people that have a defining characteristic— In this case, people who were born around the same time.

These cohorts were born between the 1960s and the 2000s, including both women and men. The percentage of people who have stated that they don’t plan to have children has increased.

While the percentage was 5-8 in the 60s and 70s, it became 8-16 percent in the 90s and 2000.s However, this increase by itself can’t explain the decline in the number of babies being born.

The number of unintended birth rates has decreased in recent decades, particularly among those in their 20s. According to Hayford, this has contributed to the reduced birth rates.

However, Hayford also notes that this doesn’t change the fact that particularly at earlier ages, people aren’t having as many children as they say they want.

There is some evidence that as people get older, they are reducing the number of children they say they intend to have.

Furthermore, during the recession that started in 2008, the birth rate significantly declined, which is an expected response to an economic downturn. Yet, according to Hayford, the birth rate still declined after the recession ended.

The study was completed before the pandemic, and therefore its effects are not a part of the data.

This study suggests there is no need to pressure young people into wanting more children, according to Hayford, who thinks it’s important to make it easier for people to have the children that they want to have.

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