While we've read plenty of reports claiming that young people are postponing marriage until later in life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data revealing that women are delaying pregnancy as well. The CDC, which surveyed data between 2007 and 2009, found that the birth rate for women over 40 in the United States rose steadily in those two years. In other age groups, it fell by 4 percent. Researchers claim that it is the sharpest decline in three decades.
According to the research, women aged between 40 and 44 experienced a 6 percent increase in births. Meanwhile, women aged 20 - 24 ("peak childbearing years") apparently decided to put babies on hold, as birth rate in that age range plummeted 9 percent, hitting a record low for that age group. The rate of decline gets less dramatic as the age groups go up, and Hispanic women experienced the largest decline in birth rate out of all ethnic groups. 9 Awesomest Myths About Pregnancy
Researchers are focusing on fertility treatments as the primary factor in this trend of women having babies later in life. The development of assisted reproductive technology, in particular, has given women the option to safely postpone pregnancy until 40. Marjorie Greenfield, M.D., author of The Working Women Pregnancy Book, says that without this technology, women have only a 10 percent chance of getting pregnant after 40. Women Delaying Pregnancy Because Of Economy
Their logic coincides with a recent Pew Research Study linking the declining birth rate with the crumbling economy. In 22 of the 25 states experts surveyed, fertility either dropped or plateaued at the same time that the local economy began to suffer.
Thanks to the advancement of technology, women in their late-30s are free to wait out the recession before having children. The question is whether the same economic stressors contributing to the declining birth rate will make it more difficult for women to avoid fertility treatments in the future.