According to The New York Times, the birthrate is falling for American women in their 20s, especially in places where the local economy is booming.
Delaying parenthood was mainly an option for upper-middle-class Americans for decades. But over the past decade, as more women of all social classes have prioritized education and career, delaying having a child has become a broad pattern among American women almost everywhere.
The result has been the slowest growth of the American population in decades.
Since 2007, the birthrate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28 percent, and the biggest recent declines have been among unmarried women. The only age groups in which birthrates rose over that period were women in their 30s and 40s — but even those began to decline over the past three years.
Professor Caitlin Myers, an economist at Middlebury College who analyzed county-level birth records for The New York Times, conducted a geographic analysis in which the data offers a clue: The birthrate is falling fastest in places with the greatest job growth — where women have more incentive to wait.
From 1996 to 2007, birthrates grew fastest in small cities and rural areas and slowest in major metro areas.
But from 2007 to 2019, birthrates have fallen everywhere
Child care costs, and opportunity costs
The declines in bearing children over the past decade have varied by region, according to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Census Bureau. They were greater on the West Coast and in the Mountain West than in the South or Northeast.
The large urban counties that have gained the most jobs and population since the recession have seen birthrates fall twice as fast as smaller, rural counties that have not recovered as strongly.
In economically stagnant places, fertility tends to be higher, and having a child is seen as a primary route to fulfillment.
Birthrates fell more in counties with strong job markets