The Puzzle of Falling US Birth Rates since the Great Recession
Journal of Economic Perspectives ,
( 36 )
Journal of Economic Perspectives

Between 1980 and 2007, US birth rates generally fluctuated within a narrow range of roughly 65 to 70 births per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 44. Since then, US birth rates have plummeted, reaching 55.8 per 1,000 women in 2020—about a 20 percent decline over 13 years. Figure 1 plots the trend in the US birth rates. The decline began at the onset of the Great Recession and continued during the ensuing recovery, with no signs of reversing. This paper considers possible suspects behind the falling birth rates.

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