By Oregon Faith News Note,
Oregon women are giving birth to fewer babies than their counterparts in many states at a time when the nation’s birth rate has dropped to a 30-year low.
A study of the 2017 data from the National Center for Health Statistics showed that women in the United States aren’t birthing enough babies to replace the population at current levels, according to a Wall Street Journal report. In 2017, 3.85 million babies were born.
To replace the population, the fertility rate needs to be 2,100 babies born for every 1,000 women, but nationally that number was 1,765 in 2017, the lowest level since 1987.
But the birth rates vary greatly depending on the geographic region and ethnicity of the mothers.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics evaluating the geographic data identified the Midwest and Southeast as having higher fertility rates, especially compared with the Northeast and Oregon and California on the West Coast. The highest state rate was in South Dakota with 2,227 births compared with 1,421 in the District of Columbia.
Only two states met the minimum threshold for replacing the population—South Dakota and Utah.
The highest fertility rates were among Hispanic women who topped 2,100 births in 29 states, while black women reached the threshold in 12 states. White women didn’t reach the 2,100-birth level in any states. Rural women were more likely than those in the cities to have more babies.
Researchers say the numbers could change if women are simply putting off childbearing until later in life, but the trend has been downward.
Failing to repopulate the nation could pose problems in the future with an aging population and not enough young people in the workforce.
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