Some experts worry the US is heading for disaster due to a baby shortage, the Washington Post reports. According to 2016 data released Friday by the CDC, the number of women giving birth in the US is down 1% from 2015 and at a historic low. The birth rate is now 62 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. Experts are concerned about a "national emergency" if a shrinking population leads to fewer workers and a smaller tax base. And as usual, millennials are to blame. Here's what you need to know about birth rates and their impact:
- The birth rate is currently below "replacement" level—the rate at which a generation can exactly replace itself, MedPage Today reports. Older women are actually having more babies, but millennials are having so few the overall birth rate is declining anyway.
- Governing looks at some of the public policy implications of a shrinking birth rate—which resulted in 4 million fewer babies being born between 2008 and 2016—including what it means for public education due to a decline in elementary school population.
- As part of the declining birth rate in young women, the teen birth rate hit an all-time low, dropping 9% from 2015, CNN reports. The teen birth rate has now dropped 67% since 1991. A physician with Nationwide Children's Hospital says the reason is "access to contraceptives and use of contraceptives" among teens.
- One rate that is increasing, according to NBC News: preterm births. Nearly 10% of babies born in 2016 were born early. It's the second year in a row preterm births increased, and experts say the current plan to cut Medicaid, which covers half of all births, would make the problem worse.
- Meanwhile in India: Despite the fertility rate dropping from 4.97 children per woman to 2.3 children per woman over the past 40 years, the country's population is predicted to keep growing, hitting the 1.44 billion mark and surpassing China in seven years, the Hindu reports.
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