Fertility rate drops to its lowest point…ever

by Ryan Streeter on October 5, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

I know we’re all supposed to be dissecting the jobs report today, noting the difference between the BLS’s household and establishment surveys and the politics of it all….but this report has me more worried about what the jobs reports will look like in, say, 2036.

The report, released by the CDC two days ago, says that in 2011 the general fertility rate (63.2 per 1,000 women age 15-44 years) declined to the lowest rate ever reported for the United States.

The birth rate for women aged 20-24 hit its lowest rate ever, too, and the birth rate for women aged 25-29 hit its lowest rate since 1976.

This chart shows the dynamics:

You can see that teen births have been dropping steadily for awhile, which is a good thing. Births to women in their 30s have been on the rise, which is not surprising, given that as women have entered the workforce in greater numbers, they are having children later.

But the increases in childbearing in women’s 30s does not offset the drop in the 20s, which has really dipped since the economy started tanking.

While childbearing always takes a hit in tough economic times, these numbers show a dip big enough that we’ll be experiencing the effects for some time.

This looks like the opposite of a baby boom. It’s a baby contraction (not the best expression I realize). I wonder what this generation will be called?