Wednesday, April 07, 2010

U.S. Birthrate Below Replacement; Record Unwed Birthrate

As many European nations' experience devastating population declines, despite a drop in the birthrate, America's population continues to rise as a result of immigration.

In addition, the portion of births to unmarried women rose to a historical high of 40.6 percent.

-- From "U.S. birthrate drops 2 percent in 2008" by Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer 4/7/10

After rising to its highest point in two decades, the rate at which women in the United States gave birth declined in 2008 as the economy deteriorated, according to government statistics released Tuesday.

The nation's overall birthrate fell 2 percent from 2007 to 2008, when about 4.2 million babies were born. The dip pushed the fertility rate below 2.1 per woman, meaning Americans were no longer giving birth to enough children to keep the population from declining.

There were 41.5 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19 in 2008, a 2 percent drop from the previous year. After a two-year increase in teen births prompted concern that one of the nation's most successful social and public health efforts was faltering, 2008 marked the return of a decline in which the rate fell 34 percent over many years.

"This is good news," said Stephanie J. Ventura of the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the annual preliminary analysis of birth certificate data. "It might come as a surprise because people were concerned the teen birthrate was on a different course."

"The downward trend is encouraging and gives us reason to believe that the 2006-07 slight uptick in teen births may have been a hiccup, rather than the start of a troubling new trend," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association.

"It is a shame that abstinence education opponents too early use any statistics to denigrate an approach that offers teens the best skills to avoid all the consequences of sex, including teen pregnancy," Huber said.

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From "Birthrate declines for American teenagers" by Cheryl Wetzstein, Washington Times 4/7/10

The Obama administration and Congress have created a $110 million teen-pregnancy-prevention program to replace the Bush administration's push for abstinence education.

The abstinence education initiative recently won a reprieve, however. A measure by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, to continue the five-year, $50-million-a-year federal funding for the Title V Abstinence Education grant program was signed into law with the massive health care package.

The new NCHS report also showed that while the birthrate to unmarried women declined slightly (from 52.9 births per 1,000 single women in 2007 to 52.0 in 2008), the actual number of such births went up (from 1,714,643 to 1,727,950, a 1 percent increase) — reflecting an increase in the number of unmarried women. In addition, the portion of births to unmarried women rose to a historical high of 40.6 percent.

Conservatives and traditional values groups consistently decry the rise in unwed childbearing because of its high social costs and negative effects on children's well-being.

"The dramatic rise of unmarried births among 20-, 30- and even 40-something women has been one of the most troubling family-formation hallmarks of the last half-decade," said Glenn T. Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family.

"Many of these are women who would love to get married, but they hear their biological clocks ticking louder than the prospects of wedding bells," he added.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.