U.S. Fertility Rate Finally is Stabilizing

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New CDC data, Demographic Intelligence projections show birthrates hitting bottom in the second quarter of 2019

U.S. Birthrate

2019 Q4 U.S. Fertility Forecast

Demographic Intelligence attributes the stabilization of the birthrate to three factors.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control confirms Demographic Intelligence’s new forecast that “called the bottom” for births in the U.S. in 2020.

“For the first time in years, the total fertility rate stabilized in the second quarter of 2019,” said Demographic Intelligence Chief Information Officer Lyman Stone. “In fact, the CDC estimates that age-specific birth rates rose for every group over age 20, consistent with D.I.’s forecast for that period. Our ability to correctly forecast within-year variation in births and birth rates, even when those forecasts represent significant deviations from recent trends, speaks to the reliability of our method.”

But this apparent plateau is at a historically low mark; final 2018 data published by the CDC just before Thanksgiving shows that the nation’s fertility rate dropped 2% year over year to 1.729 births per woman.

D.I. predicts the total fertility rate will further tick down to 1.71 in 2019 and remain basically steady at 1.70 in 2020. D.I. attributes the stabilization of the birthrate to three factors:

  • The biggest cohort of Millennials is now moving toward their late twenties and early thirties, which is now the prime time to have children;
  • The share of Millennials who are marrying looks like it will tick slightly upwards;
  • Data from the American Family Survey indicates an increase in the share of women who say that it is at least somewhat likely that they will have a child in the next two years.

Stone cautions that births temporarily flattened out in 2014 and then continued their long fall. “Furthermore, many economic observers have raised worries about recession risks,” he said. “While D.I. does not forecast recessions (and does not generally share the view that a major recession is imminent), it is nonetheless important to understand that current growth conditions, which may be supportive of positive fertility decisions, will not persist forever. The stabilization of births and birth rates is a welcome change, but it remains to be seen if there will be any actual recovery from the declines in recent years.”

About Demographic Intelligence

Demographic Intelligence (DI) is the premier provider of U.S. birth forecasts and fertility analytics for businesses with an interest in birth trends in the U.S. Its U.S. Fertility ForecastTM is typically more than 98% accurate in predicting U.S. birth trends. DI has recently added the State Fertility Forecast TM to its list of reports.

DI provides reports and consulting services to companies in the following sectors: juvenile products, healthcare, media, financial services, consumer food, and household products. Demographic Intelligence is advised in its work by five leading family scholars: Princeton economist Alicia Adsera, University of Pennsylvania demographer Hans-Peter Kohler, University of North Carolina demographer Philip Morgan, economist Lyman Stone, and University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox.

Chief Operating Officer
Demographic Intelligence

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