There were about 4,700 more babies born in 2013 than in the previous year, according to a Center for Disease Control report released yesterday. This uptick was the first such increase we’ve seen since 2007, says the WaPo. The lead CDC researcher on the report called the rise “’very, very, very slight,'” but people are celebrating nonetheless—and debating the cause. Some link the increase to the gradual economic recovery, others to shifting social patterns:
Falling deliveries was a relatively new phenomenon in this country. Births were on the rise since the late 1990s and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007. Then came the drop attributed to the nation’s flagging economy. […]The nation also may be seeing a more pronounced shift to having children a bit later in life, said Rob Stephenson, an Emory University demographer focused on reproductive health. That follows a trend western Europe experienced more than a decade ago, he said.“Maybe the new norm is having children in your 30s,” he said.
Surprisingly, the slight rise wasn’t driven by immigration. Births for Hispanic women stayed the same (and births for Asian women dropped). Only white and black women had a greater number of births. This could mean America may have more native fertility resilience than many expected, but the increase is too slight to be the basis of any definite conclusions. And it’s not all good news. The birth rate and the total fertility rate still dropped, if slightly:
[…] The birth rate dropped less than 1 percent, to just under 63 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. That’s the lowest it’s ever been, according to U.S. health records.[…] The total fertility rate also fell, by 1 percent. That statistic tells how many children a woman can be expected to have if current birth rates continue. The figure was 1.87 children last year. Experts say 2.1 is a goal if you want to keep the population at its current size.
The “baby recession” may be ending, but clearly there’s still work to be done.