The fertility rate of the United States has been decreasing at a very fast rate in the last 2 centuries. The country’s fertility rate was 7 children per woman in 1800, and as several factors like hygiene, technology, education, and medicine improved, women started having fewer children. The fertility rate had dropped to about 2 children per woman in 1940. However, it increased drastically in the aftermath of World War 2 to more than 3.5 children per woman by 1960. The children born from 1946 to 1964 are referred to as the Baby Boomer generation, and they make up about 20% of the country’s population today. Increased access to contraceptives resulted in the country’s fertility rate reaching its lowest point of 1.77 children per woman in 1980. It later increased to 2 children from 1995 to 2010 before dropping again to its lowest rate ever of 1.73 in 2018. According to the CDC, the country’s rate was 16% lower than the replacement level (2.1 children per woman) in 2017. The replacement rate refers to the level needed for the population to replenish itself without immigration.
The fertility rate of the U.S. dropped in 2018 for the fourth straight-year, extending the decline in births in the country that started with the Great Recession in 2008. Normally, the fertility rate of a country drops during harsh economic times and then increases when the economy improves as it did during the Great-Depression of the 1930s. However, this time around, the fertility rate has not improved with the economy after the financial crisis of 2008. There was a brief improvement in 2014, which didn’t last. Even though the country’s fertility rate was decreasing in the 2 centuries, the population of the U.S. has not decreased. The population of the United States has remained stable due to the increasing number of immigrants in the country.
Fertility Rate By Ethnicity
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders
Even though they are one of the least populous ethnic group in the country, the Native Hawaiians had the highest fertility rate in the country in 2018 of about 2,106.5 children per 1,000 women. Their fertility rate has been increasing from 2016 (2.076children per woman), accounting for 9,342births to 2017 (2.085children per woman), accounting for 9,426 births. The Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders population was ranked among the fastest-growing ethnicities in the country from 2000 to 2010. The population of the Native Hawaiians improved from 398,835 (2000) to over 1.5million by 2017. The Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders represented approximately 0.4% of the country’s population by 2017. A considerable percentage of the Native Hawaiians live in Hawaii, while the rest are scattered all over the country, particularly in the Southwestern parts of the United States. The Native Hawaiians have huge communities living in California.
The general fertility rate of the country has decreased substantially in the last 2 decades. However, the most significant decline was among Hispanic women. Even though they had the second-highest fertility rate in the U.S. in 2018, the fertility rate of Hispanic women dropped by 31% from 2006 to 2017. The drop in the fertility rate of the Hispanic women has been driven hugely by the steep decline of the fertility levels of the Mexican women. The fertility rates of the Hispanic Mexican women dropped by 37% from 2006 to 2015. Some of the factors that contributed to the drop in fertility rate include high living costs, increases in average education levels, and changing attitudes towards having children. One of the main factors contributing to the decrease is the change in the composition of the Hispanic population. 54.9% of the adult Hispanic population was foreign-born in 2006 as compared to 47.9% in 2015. The fertility rate of United States born Hispanic women is lower than that of the immigrant hispanics. Among the Hispanic women, the rate has dropped from 2.006 children per woman in 2017 to 1.959 children per woman in 2018. In 2017, the fertility rate of Hispanic women was low in Vermont (1.2children per woman) and high in Alabama (3.085children per woman).
Even though they had the third-highest fertility rate in 2018, the fertility rate of the black (non-Hispanic) has dropped by 11% from 2006 to 2017. It decreased from 1.824 (2017) to 1.792 children per woman in 2018. In 2017, the fertility rate of black women was low in Wyoming (1.146children per woman) and high in Maine (4.003children per woman). Even though the fertility rate of the non-Hispanic black women has been decreasing, the number of births increased from 558,622births in 2017 to 560,715 births in 2018.
The AI/AN community had a higher fertility rate in the 1980s than the Pacific Islander, Asians, and Non-Hispanic Whites. However, since 1990, their fertility rate has been decreasing. The fertility rate of the AI/AN dropped from 1.690children per woman (2016) to 1.597children per woman in 2017 before increasing to 1.65 in 2018.
Other than being one of the most prominent ethnic groups in the country, non-Hispanic Whites had one of the lowest fertility rates in 2018. Over 60.7% of the country’s population was non-Hispanic Whites. The total fertility rate of the non-Hispanic Whites has been decreasing from 2014 (1.763children per woman) to 2018 (1.64children per woman). The decrease in fertility rate reflects the percentage of children born between 2016 and 2017. The percentage of births in the U.S. decreased from 52.11% in 2016 to 51.68% of the babies born in 2017. According to the CDC, the fertility rate of the non-Hispanic Whites didn’t exceed the replacement level in 2017; however, it was high in Utah (2.009children per woman). The state with the lowest rate among the non-Hispanic Whites was the District of Columbia (1.012children per woman).
Other than being the smallest ethnic group in the country, the Asians had the lowest fertility rate in the US in 2018 at 1.525 children per woman. The fertility rate of Asian Americans has been decreasing from 2016 (1.69 childen per woman) to 2018. The percentage of birth by foreign-born Asian women has increased. According to the Pew Research Center, the Asian immigrant accounted for 22% of all the births by foreign women in the country in 2016.