Birth rate stagnation causes flatlining of U.S. population in 2022

According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, teenage birth rates in the U.S. fell to a record low in 2022, continuing a years-long downward trend. The estimated birth rate among teens ages 15 to 19 years old fell to 13.5 babies per 1,000 Americans in 2022, down 3% from the year before. However, birth rates for people in their late 30s and early 40s increased in 2022, in line with a long-standing upward trend of delaying parenthood from before the Covid pandemic.

Overall, U.S. birth rates have been below the replacement rate for years, and the country's fertility rate for 2022 sits well below the level needed for the current generation to replace itself. This figure concerns many policymakers, scientists, and officials, as a birth rate below the replacement rate signals major demographic changes on the horizon, particularly slowing growth, an aging population, and an economy that one day may struggle to find enough workers to fill key jobs and pay taxes.

An estimated 3,661,220 babies were born across the U.S. in 2022, representing a modest drop of around 3,000 fewer births than reported in 2021. Given the small change and the fact that the data for 2022 is provisional, the report's authors consider the country's birth rate to be "essentially unchanged" from the year before.

The U.S.'s fertility rate was around 1.7 children per woman in 2022, well below the replacement rate of 2.1. Many countries have been trying out ways to encourage people to have more kids, as a birth rate below the replacement rate could lead to a worker shortage, a labor crisis, and economic issues.


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