Congratulations Americans! We’re making more babies these days. For the first time since 2007, the U.S. birth rate has risen about 1 percent.
That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a sign of better times and an improving economy. And it stands to reason that losing a job, or making less money at the one you have, wouldn’t inspire you to procreate.
The jump is nothing compared to the 1950s baby boom, however.
The increase corroborates with economic data that suggests things are getting better in the U.S. — tons of jobs were created in April, and we spent about 1 percent more on stuff in May. Overall, more children means the tide could be turning, USA Today reported.
“I think as people feel their paycheck is more stable, it feels like a safe environment to have a child in,” Guttmacher Institute Research scientist Laura Lindberg said.
It’s also a better time for kids — the U.S. recession put stress on everyone, and stress unfortunately means more social problems like child abuse and suicide. Shaken baby syndrome even rose during the recession.
The 1 percent rise (about 63 newborns per 1,000 women) means about 4 million cuddly babies were born in 2014, about 53,000 more than in 2013, the Associated Press reported. The report, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was gleaned from birth certificate data. And it found even more encouraging stats.
- The rise in the rate applies to all ethnicities, except, for an undetermined reason, among Native Americans.
- Fertility has also improved, meaning each woman is able to have more kids; this rate is up to 1.9 percent, which is just about what you need to maintain the population (2.1 percent).
- Only 32 percent of infants were delivered via cesarean, and premature births fell 10 percent.
- And there has been a rise in birth rates for moms in their 30s and early 40s; ladies in their late 20s, who have the most little ones, has remained steady.
But there’s one stat that should rise above the others in importance, as it offers an encouraging sign about U.S. teens: teen pregnancy is at an all-time low. A decline that began in 1991 has continued to sink, falling 9 percent.
“What we have seen is quite remarkable,” said Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
There are many factors that could contribute to this continued decline among youth. They might be having less sex or using contraception more, or they simply have access to pregnancy prevention programs. The Internet is possibly also helpful in educating young people about fertility. And less youth today have seen their peers pregnant.
But there is still more work to be done to lower that birth rate even more.
“The majority of teen pregnancies remain unattended or accidental,” Lindberg told United Press International. “There remains room for improvement to help teens be in charge of their own fertility and only get pregnant when they wish to get pregnant.”
[Photo Courtesy: Ian Waldie / Getty Images]