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HYATTSVILLE, Maryland, January 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics has announced that the national fertility rate is the lowest it has been in 30 years.

The American birth rate has been insufficient to sustain the population since 1971, but the 2017 numbers indicate a 30-year low. According to CNN, the federal agency reported that the total fertility rate for the U.S. overall that year was 1,765.5 per 1,000 women, 16 percent below the level needed for a population to replace itself: 2,100 births per 1,000 women.

The total number of births in the U.S. in 2017 was 3,853,472, a drop of two percent from 2016.  

Women of all age groups except the over 40-set had fewer babies in 2017. According to the National Center of Birth Statistics:

“The general fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 3% from 2016 and another record low for the United States. Birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women under 40, but rose for women in their early 40s. The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 was down 7% in 2017 to 18.8 births per 1,000 women; rates declined for both younger (aged 15–17) and older (aged 18–19) teenagers.”

There were some interesting differences between birth rates for states.

South Dakota and Utah were the only states to reach “replacement rate.” South Dakota was the biggest winner overall, with a rate of 2,227.5 live births per 1,000 women, and Utah came in second with 2,120.5. North Dakota nearly made it with a rate of 2,065 live births per 1,000 women. The same can be said for Nebraska, which had a rate of 2,062. In contrast, the birth rate in Washington, D.C. was 1,421 per 1000 women.

CNN published remarks by Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who said that fertility rates have been dropping consistently.

“We’ve been seeing fertility rates go down, and I think it has a lot to do with women and men, couples in particular, having much more control over their reproductive lives,” he said.

Benjamin did acknowledge that a low fertility rate isn’t necessary good for society.

“I think the concern is – and there is a concern – having a fertility rate that doesn't allow us in effect to perpetuate our society,” he said. “But we may very well over time start seeing this reversed or flattened out, but that remains to be seen.”

CNN noted that “between 2007 and 2017, total fertility rates in the United States fell 12% in rural counties, 16% in suburban counties and 18% in large metro counties, according to a separate CDC data brief released in October.”

In 2016, approximately 884,524 Americans were killed before birth in legal abortions.