CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, August 1, 2013 ( – A U.S. fertility forecasting company is suggesting that the nation's fertility decline is “over,” based on a predicted total fertility increase of 0.01.

The U.S. Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is expected to increase to 1.90, up from a 25-year low of 1.89 children per woman.

A “replacement level” birth rate of 2.1 children per woman is needed to maintain a stable population. All recent U.S. Population growth has come from immigration, rather than domestic reproduction.

“The United States has seen marked declines in childbearing in the wake of the Great Recession [which began with the financial crisis of 2007-2008], but we think that this fertility decline is now over,” Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, told USA Today.

The “U.S. Fertility Forecast” report, released today by Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, Virginia, noted that fertility increases or declines generally follow economic swings, so the recent small improvement in the U.S. economy may be reflected by a fertility increase.

The sluggish increase in population matches the modest U.S. economic growth of only 1.7 percent during the second quarter.

“As the economy rebounds and women have the children they postponed immediately after the Great Recession, we are seeing an uptick in U.S. fertility,” said Sturgeon.

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Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C., concurred that fertility rates fall during periods of economic decline and rebound with financial improvement.

But he observed that longer-term fertility trends may depend on marked changes in women's employment and earnings relative to men, rather than on overall economic dynamics.

“Women outnumber men in college and make up a growing share of the labor force,” Mather wrote. “The recession hit male-dominated jobs the hardest, contributing to a growing share of women who now out-earn their husbands.”

“As more women become primary breadwinners, fertility decisions are more likely to hinge on women’s earnings than they did in previous decades. A growing reliance on women’s employment and earnings could further dampen U.S. fertility rates in the coming decades,” he said.

Mary Mederios Kent, who formerly was senior demographic writer at the Population Reference Bureau and is now an independent writer and editor, is also skeptical that the birth dearth is over in the U.S.

“The question remains, will fertility bounce back when the economy improves, or will low fertility become the norm for Americans, as it has for Canadians and Europeans?” she asked.

“Even at its current low level,” she wrote, “the U.S. rate is higher than nearly every developed country, and these countries also experienced fertility declines during the recent recession. Will couples eventually have the babies they postponed during the recession? We will be watching new birth statistics as they are published.”

She concluded, “For now, we can expect to see continued declines over the near term.”


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