New Census Report Documents Shifting Pattern of When Women Are Having Children

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that overall fertility trends from 1990 to 2019 declined. In 1990, there were about 70.77 births each year for every 1,000 women ages 15-44. By 2019, there were about 58.21 births per 1,000 women in that age group. Annual births in the United States declined from about 4.1 million to 3.7 million from 1990 to 2019.

There were major changes in fertility rates by age. The Census analysis shows fertility rates of women ages 20-24 declined by 43 percent during the period, while those of women ages 35-39 increased by 67 percent during the roughly 30-year period.

There were 116.40 births for every 1,000 women ages 20-24 in 1990. In 2019, there were only 66.59 births to every 1,000 women in that age range. In 1990, there were 31.50 births for every 1,000 women ages 35-39. In 2019 there were 52.72 births for every 1,000 women ages 35-39. Overall fertility rates declined because the jump in birth rates of older women was not enough to offset declines in birth rates of younger women.

These changing fertility rates by age shifted the median age at which women gave birth in the United States from age 27 in 1990 to age 30 in 2019.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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