The Great Recession is over. It was a marathon, but the policies of President Obama have lifted a country that just wasn’t in the mood…
Actually, the baby recession may be over. For now. Didn’t know there was a baby recession? Me neither, but I don’t have kids. The figures are preliminary, but the birth rate in the United States is in positive territory for the first time in seven years. Around 50,000 more babies were born in 2014 than in 2013. It works out to a 1 percent increase.
It’s not just the birth rate enjoying a moment in the sun. New births were up for nearly every ethnic and racial group. Other key measurements health officials watch were also trending in the right direction. Teen births slid to another historic low. Preterm deliveries are down, and fewer cesarean section were performed.
It’ll be the buzzword on the news, so let’s understand the meaning. For the past seven years, the birth rate in the United States has been declining. What was happening seven years ago? We were in the midst of the economic Great Recession. Never one to leave a buzzword untouched, the seven years of a declining birth rate was dubbed the ‘Baby Recession.’
There is some reticence regarding the preliminary numbers. In 2013, a similar increase was reported, only to be revised later to show a declining rate. Statisticians working for the government have promised extra steps to ensure the first batch of numbers hold.
The author of the report, Brady Hamilton of the CDC, is among the experts urging caution on declaring a lasting upswing in births. “I’ve learned not to prognosticate.”
In addition to the preliminary numbers, it is women in their 30s and 40s providing the baby bump. Is that sustainable, or will the baby recession double dip?
CDC Birth Rate Report
Released Wednesday, the 19-page CDC report is one-stop shopping for birth data in the United States.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Four million babies were born in 2014. Births rose for white, black, Asian and Hispanic women. Researchers aren’t sure why, but the births among Native American women fell.
- After hitting a historic low in 2013 of 62.5 percent, the birth rate rose one percent in 2014 among women of childbearing age. It works out to about 63 births per 1,000 women.
- Birth rates among women in their 30s and 40s continue to rise. Women in their late 20s saw birth rates hold steady.
- The teen birth rate continues to hit historic lows. After peaking at 645,000 teen births in 1970, the number has dropped to 249,000.
- The number of cesarean sections performed dropped to 32 percent. Health officials are targeting a 15 percent number, with most believing C-sections are done out of convenience or unwarranted caution.
Experts have long believed the teen birth rate decline to level off at some point. Instead, it continues to set record lows. Most are attributing it to the rise in contraception and less sex. Also, research is pointing to a change in social norms for many teens.
Yeah, MTV’s Teen Mom is the ultimate in sex ed. Seeing that trainwreck reality show is enough to make anyone take a vow of celibacy.
Overall, the report offers good news. Tons of baby showers to attend, less teen pregnancy and a mini post-recession baby boom.