About 3.75 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2019, down 1% from the prior year, provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed. The general fertility rate fell 2% to 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, its lowest level since the government began tracking the figure in 1909.
The data are the latest sign of how American childbearing, which began declining during the 2007-09 recession, never fully rebounded when the economy bounced back. Millennials have been slower to form families than previous generations, in part, economists say, because they are less financially secure than those before them.
“There are a lot of people out there who would like to have two children, a larger family, and there’s something going on out there that makes people feel like they can’t do that,” said Melanie Brasher, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Rhode Island, who studies fertility.