The researchers have been measuring unintended pregnancy for decades, the conventional approach to categorizing recalled pregnancy desires does not capture the complexities of women’s and couples’ desires; their experiences prior to pregnancy or the context in which a pregnancy occurs. As a result; sources of data available to characterize pregnancy desires and experiences are limit.
The complexities of women’s
The Guttmacher Institute is aware of these limitations, and our experts are working to address them in our work. The findings included in this fact sheet are the most current available. he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on May 15 that the number of births in the U.S. is down 2% “the lowest number of births in 32 years.” These reports were met with surprise and alarm. USA Today, for example, led with the headline “A lot of empty kindergarten rooms.”
However, this recent decline fits with global trends and isn’t unprecedented in U.S. history. As a demographer who studies fertility trends, what strikes me as anomalous is not the recent drop; but the previous high fertility “bubble.” After the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s, fertility in the U.S. and other wealthy countries fell during the 1970s. However; the U.S. steadily rebounded; even as rates in most other wealthy countries stayed low or fell even lower.
Most current available
By 1990, there were 2.1 children per woman in the U.S., compared to 1.4 in Spain and 1.5 in Germany; for example. This gap between the U.S. and other developed countries baffled demographers through the 1990s and early 2000s. Public policy choices couldn’t explain it. The U.S. maintained its high fertility rate even while being comparatively weak on “pro-fertility” policies like family leave and financial support for parents.
Several factors propped up the fertility rate. The U.S. had a steady flow of immigrants from higher-fertility countries. It also had a persistently high unintended pregnancy rate; a flexible labor market that allowed parents to exit and re-enter the workforce; and a strong, stable economy.
High unintended pregnancy
In 2018, the U.S. dropped to 1.73 children per woman. This number is well within the range of similar countries; and even remains toward the top of the pack. Only a few wealthy countries including France, Australia and Sweden have higher fertility rates than the U.S., and differences are small.
It’s normal for fertility rates in wealthy countries to go up and down. People tend to adjust the timing of births to take advantage of a “good” year such as one when high state benefits are offered or avoid a “bad” year such as one with high economic uncertainty.