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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — According to the Centers for Disease Control, the fertility rate in the United States reached an historic low in 2018.

In a report issued Wednesday, the CDC confirmed provisional figures that were released in May that “the 2018 general fertility rate fell to another all-time low for the United States.”

The Atlanta-based government institution found that the fertility rate among women ages 15 to 44 dropped by two percent between 2017 and 2018. This represented a drop from 60.3 births per 1,000 for women ages 15-44 to 59.1 percent. In addition, the percentage of preterm and early-term births increased: For babies delivered at less than 39 weeks, the percentage increased from 9.93 percent in 2017 to 10.02 percent in 2018. Full-, late-, and post-term deliveries declined.

According to the CDC report:

  • The general fertility rate for the United States declined two percent in 2018 to 59.1 per 1,000 women ages 15-44 from 60.3 in 2017.

  • Fertility rates declined for the three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups from 2017 to 2018, down two percent for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women and three percent for Hispanic women.

  • In 2018, the fertility rate was highest for Hispanic women (65.9), followed by non-Hispanic black (62.0) and non-Hispanic white (56.3) women.

In May, provisional figures released by the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC showed the total fertility rate, or average number of children born per mother, was 1.7, which is far below the demographic replacement rate of 2.1. 

Also, statistics showed that in 2018 fewer than 3.8 million children were born in the United States. Despite a peak year in 2007, birth rates have fallen in all but one of the last 11 years.

The U.S. showed a continuing trend of diminished fertility among younger women during that period.

The average age of first-time mothers has risen by more than five years: in 1968, the average age was 21.4; today, it was registered as 26.8. In 2018, childbirth rates in the 20-24 age cohort dropped by four percent, and three percent among women ages 25-29. However, women in the 30-35 age cohort had a higher rate of births than those ages 25-29. Thus, this is the first time that women in their early 30s were leaders in birthing babies. 

In February, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that women with four children or more will be exempt from paying income tax for life in an effort to encourage births. The Hungarian fertility rate is currently 1.45 children per woman.

The Lancet medical journal published a report in November 2018 that showed that almost half of the countries on earth do not exhibit sufficient birth rates to outdistance deaths. In South Korea, for example, there were seven births per 1,000 people in 2017, a number that has since fallen. In Spain, a report issued in March showed evidence that the abortion rate is contributing to the nation’s birth dearth and its overall aging.

Experts have long warned about the economic and social costs of a declining birth rate. This has long been documented in Japan, which has a current birth rate of 1.43. Small families, contraception and abortion have led to an aging population. Fewer births means fewer workers to support the growing number of pensioners, for example. Experts contends that a birth dearth may curtail any country’s plans to sustain and increase social welfare programs that currently depend on population growth. 

In Japan, official encouragement for mothers to be more open to childbirth has largely failed. Immigration has not met with much acceptance in Japan, either.