Why Younger Women Are Having Fewer Babies Than Ever Before

It might seem like everyone’s having babies based on your news feed, but the U.S. fertility rate is actually lower than ever, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 59.8 babies were born for every 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in the first quarter of 2016, nearly half the rate of babies born in the 1950s.

Women are not only having fewer kids, but they’re delaying childbirth later than ever. Forty years ago, the average age for delivering a baby was 21. Today, it’s 26.3. And the recent federal research actually saw a bump in 2016 when it came to women delivering babies in their early 30s.

So what’s behind these changes? Birth control has become more accessible, and women are choosing to build careers before having children. But research shows the main reason women are having fewer kids is for financial reasons. It’s not that women don’t want to have more kids (in fact, the desire is there), it’s just that they want to be more financially stable if/when they do so.

When you consider the fact that raising a child from birth to 18 in the U.S. costs in the ballpark of $300,000, it makes sense that women are delaying motherhood or having fewer babies overall.

Photo by quinn.anya