According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were the same number of births in the United States last year as before the pandemic.
Birth rates among mothers aged 35 and older increased and reached their highest levels since the 1960s.
However, according to the CDC, the record-low birth rates for mothers in their teens and early 20s countered those gains.
Over 99% of the birth certificates issued last year were examined for this research.
There were just under 3.7 million births in the United States last year, roughly 3,000 fewer than the year before.
Officials believe births were “sort of level from the previous year” because the figures are preliminary and the shift was minimal, according to the report’s primary author, Brady Hamilton of the CDC.
Before COVID-19, U.S. births had been dropping for over ten years. From 2019 to 2020, however, they fell a startling 4%. They increased by roughly 1% in 2021, which analysts ascribed to couples delaying births during the early stages of the pandemic.
More findings from the report:
— The highest birth rates continue to be seen in women in their early 30s. The number of births for women that age was unchanged from the year before. Births were down slightly for women in their late 20s, with the second-highest birth rate.
— Births to Hispanic moms rose 6% last year, surpassing 25% of the U.S. total. Births to white moms fell by 3% but still accounted for 50% of births. Births to Black moms fell 1% and were 14% of the total.
— The cesarean section birth rate rose slightly to 32.2% of births. That’s the highest it’s been since 2014. Some experts worry that C-sections are done more often than medically necessary.
— The U.S. was once among a few developed countries with a fertility rate that ensured each generation had enough children to replace itself — about 2.1 children per woman. But it’s been sliding, and in 2020 dropped to about 1.6, the lowest rate on record. It rose slightly in 2021, to nearly 1.7, and stayed there last year.
Later this year, data for 2022 that are more thorough and precise are anticipated.
According to Hamilton, the information should help explain what transpired in various states and among different racial and ethnic groupings.
It might also demonstrate whether American births were impacted. Roe v. Wade, which permitted states to forbid or restrict abortion, was overturned by the Supreme Court in a ruling last June.
Limiting access to abortion could impact the number of births because experts estimate that nearly half of the pregnancies are unwanted.
The national data that was presented on Thursday didn’t indicate that such restrictions were having an impact on birth rates.
According to Ushma Upadhyay, a reproductive health expert at the University of California, San Francisco, it’s probable that the abortion restrictions would result in increased birth rates in 2023, more likely among younger women than older mothers.
Given other factors, she continued, even if there is an increase, it might not bring the country back to pre-pandemic birth numbers.
She remarked, “I don’t know if we’ll ever return there.