CDC: U.S. Fertility Rate Dropped in 2017; D.C. Had Lowest Rate in Nation

By Emily Ward | January 15, 2019 | 1:44pm EST
Hospital Nursery (Screenshot)

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics reveals that Americans’ fertility dropped in 2017 and that the Nation’s Capital had the lowest rate of fertility in the U.S. for that year.

According to the CDC, the U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) fell to only 1,765.5 babies born per 1,000 women, a figure far below the number of births needed to replace the American population in the future. As the CDC researchers note, a TFR of 1,765.5 is “16% below what is considered the level for a population to replace itself (2,100.0).”

In fact, only two U.S. states had fertility rates above the replacement level. South Dakota’s fertility rate was 2,227.5, and Utah’s was 2,120.5. Washington, D.C., by contrast, had a fertility rate of 1,421.0 – the lowest in the U.S.

American women had approximately 3,855,500 babies in 2017. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the 2017 birth rate was at its “lowest number” in thirty years..

Total fertility rates varied considerably by race and ethnicity. Hispanic women were the most fertile, and non-Hispanic white women were the least. According to the CDC, “Among non-Hispanic white women, no states had a TFR above the replacement level (Utah was 2,099.5); among non-Hispanic black women, 12 states had TFRs above replacement; and among Hispanic women, 29 states had TFRs above 2,100.0.”

The CDC defines total fertility rate as “the expected number of births that a group of 1,000 women would have in their lifetimes according to the current age-specific birth rates.” The TFR assumes that the current birthrates of women “will remain constant over their reproductive lifetime.” Therefore, as the CDC notes, “the TFR is an estimate of their possible completed fertility.” The researchers noted that the report is potentially limited, since “the number of births by maternal age and race and Hispanic origin, which serve as the basis for the age-specific birth rates, was small for some groups.”

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