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US fertility rates drop, CDC says

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Fertility rates in the U.S. have dropped significantly over the past decade as first-time mothers have grown older on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC’s data also show differences between rural and metropolitan communities widened between 2007 and 2017. 

{mosads}Fertility rates dropped by 12 percent in rural areas, 16 percent in small- or medium-sized metropolitan areas, and 18 percent in large cities, the CDC reported. 

Meanwhile, the mean age of first-time mothers rose by 1.3 years in rural areas and 1.8 years in large cities. 

The mean for first-time mothers in rural counties was 24.5 years old in 2017, compared to 27.7 in large cities. 

These findings track with research that shows rural areas tend to have higher fertility rates and younger mothers. 

Fertility rates have been dropping for all race and ethnic groups, with the largest drop occurring among Hispanic women. The fertility rate among Hispanic women declined by 26 percent in rural areas and 30 percent in urban counties over the past decade, according to the brief. 

Non-Hispanic black mothers saw the greatest increase in their age at first birth, with an increase of 1.7 years in rural areas and 2.4 years in large metro areas between 2007 to 2017. 

The latest peak in fertility rates in the U.S. occurred in 2007, the study authors note. The rates have been dropping among all races and geographic areas since then. 

A New York Times poll in July found that young adults list the high expense of child care as a top reason for having fewer kids. 

The number of births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age was 60.2 last year, a rate that is similar to other industrialized nations but the lowest the U.S. has ever seen.


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