America’s Depressed Birthrate


Elizabeth Crnkovich also contributed to this article.

Americans are having fewer children, and the Obama economy is to blame

Want to know how bad the Obama economy really is, especially for young people and minorities? Take a look at our plummeting birthrate, which has been falling for the last four years.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control lays out the specifics of this birth dearth. Reading the 29-page report, certain facts leapt out at me.

Fact #1: The total number of births is falling. The number of babies born is down 1 percent since the previous year, and has been steadily dropping since the onset of the recession four years ago. The numbers play out differently depending on race, however. While births among Non-Hispanic white and black women dropped 1 percent, among Asian/Pacific Islander women it actually rose by 3 percent. Hispanic births took the hardest hit, with the number of births falling 3 percent among this group, which has probably suffered more from the current administration’s mismanagement of the economy than any other.

Fact #2: The general fertility rate is falling. The overall fertility rate, like the number of births, has dropped 1 percent. Here the difference between the races is even more stark, however. Hispanic women saw their general fertility rate drop by 6 percent, while among non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women it fell by 2 percent. That is to say, the very groups that voted overwhelmingly to give the President a second term are the ones whose fertility is suffering disproportionately from the ongoing recession.

Fact #3: The teen birth rate fell farther than any other age group. Teens had 8 percent fewer babies in 2010 than in 2011. This is the lowest that the teen birth rate has been since 1946. Overall, there has been a 25 percent drop since 2007. The Obama administration claims that this drop in the teen birth rate reflects their successful sex education and condom/birth control distribution schemes. In fact, it is a reflection of a moribund economy, especially for minority youth. While other ethnic groups saw the birth rate among their teens fall from 6 to 8 percent over the past year, among Hispanic teens the birth rate dropped 11 percent.

Fact #4: The American people are, once again, not replacing themselves. A few years ago we at PRI were celebrating because the TFR in America had finally climbed back to replacement levels of 2.1 children per woman, after having fallen below replacement in 1972 with the Supreme Court decision to allow abortion on demand just around the corner. Now, according to the CDC report, “The [total fertility]rate had been above replacement in 2006 and 2007, but has dropped below since, and was also below replacement from 1972 through 2005.”

Fact #5: While younger women are delaying births, older women are rushing to beat the biological clock. Young women have been hit the hardest by the poor economy. The birth rate for women in their teens and 20’s (15-29) has dropped significantly, while the birth rate among women in their late thirties and mid-forties (35-44) has actually risen. Why this is happening is not difficult to understand. The biological alarm clock is going off for those women nearing the end of their reproductive lives, who had to conceive a child while they still could, bad economy or no.

Children are laughing, loving signs of hope in our midst. The current birth dearth is a reflection of the lack of hope, especially on the part of young people and minorities, that things will change for the better any time soon.

Isn’t it ironic that the very people who gave Obama a first term—and now a second—should be sacrificing their children on the altar of their fears about the future?

Will someone please explain to them that hope is not a policy and that change doesnot necessarily mean change for the better?


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  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    It is interesting to note that not only is Obama responsible for abortion, but he is also responsible for the fertility of Americans. Is this really so?

    I would like to hear more about Jesus Christ and less about Barack Obama in CL.

    Of the fifteen articles currently featured in the Home page of CL two thirds are about Obama and politics. Some of the remainder are about Jesus Christ and religion.

    Would anyone else like to see more about religion and less about Obama in CL?

    • ColdStanding

      I absolutely want to read more about Roman Catholic Christianity. The Church isn’t a wanna-be political organization (Edit: or it should be said that it is missing the mark to think of the Church as political org). We certainly must be actors in the public sphere. We are called upon to live our faith in a public way. The Church’s solution, though, is not political in nature. We are sinners, fallen as we are taught. What does the Church teach about and how to correct this condition? How can we best dispose ourselves for corrective action from that fellow we hear about on occasion? At one time I used to see Him up on the crucifix, now I just mostly see crosses.

    • rightactions

      Sin and disobedience have material consequences too, Noel.

  • GuitarGramma

    Hi Noel,
    Here’s what’s going on. We Catholics who live in America are in shock that the most pro-abortion president in our country’s history just won re-election. Our hopes have been dashed. We are in a sort of mourning. So, as you have noticed, we are probably a little obsessed with what has just happened. We need to work through what has just happened, re-group, and march forward doing God’s work. The plethora of articles about the election are a symptom of this.
    I can understand why these articles would be of no interest to you. America’s president has no impact on your life whatsoever. For us in here in the States, however, President Obama is changing our country into one which is ever less friendly to Christians and to Catholic Christians in particular. His policies have forced the closure of Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, and many other states’ Catholic Charities are under pressure.
    So, as your CL friend, I ask you to put up with us Yanks a little longer. We need this time to figure out what is ahead for us. Thank you.

  • Noel Fitzpatrick


    “I ask you to put up with us Yanks a little longer”.

    The Yanks are not my problem. I was thinking about Rebs. The Yanks, New Englanders, voted for Obama, but the Rebs (Republicans) supported the former liberal pro-choice, pro-gay governor of Massachusetts.

    Johnny and Janey Reb do not realize the Civil War is over. Atlanta was burned,
    but it was rebuilt. After Nixon there were prophecies that the Republican party was finished, that did not happen.

    It is not for me to tell you your business, but a strength of the US is the checks and balances. The power of the Presidency is controlled. Things are not as bad as you many claim. Remember Roe v Wade was a a legal decision and Romney claimed he would not try to change this.

    Romney was pro-choice, and with Romneycare, I am told, Massachusetts is one of the most abortion friendly state in the Union (oops sorry does Union offend my Southern friends; also Yank and Johnny Reb are used as affectionate, not derogatory terms).

    Life will go on. Cardinal Dolan in congratulating President Obama on his re-election stressed the three most important social issues – support for life, the poor and immigrants.

    • CDville

      Romney was pro-choice, biased toward life. Obama is pro-abortion, insisting that we, the taxpayers, pay for abortions around the world and insisting that other countries allow abortion in order to qualify for financial aid.

    • GuitarGramma

      My apologies, Noel. I used to live in Australia where all Americans, northern and southern, were called “Yanks.” Here in the USA, we don’t use the word “Yanks” to mean Northerners: that term is “Yankees.” You may be interested to know that “Johnny Reb” would not be heard as an affectionate term by American ears; “Johnny Reb” would always be considered an insult by both the speaker and the listener.

      As I said, I used to live in Australia, so I have experienced how the press doesn’t always get things right when news travels so far. For example, an Aussie newspaper once printed, “Representative So-and-so, a senator in the United States ….” Representatives are not senators in our political system, the two are very different. There were many other examples.

      All of which points to perceptions across the pond. You have many times stated that both President Obama and Governor Romney are pro-choice. I can’t quibble with you there. But I must tell you that the level of “pro-choice-ness” between the two of them was as wide as the ocean. President Obama actively promotes abortion as health care; Governor Romney hoped that as president he could limit abortions to cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. Such a policy would reduce the number of pre-born babies killed by 97%. Not perfect, but such a step forward!
      Another example of the difference between the two: President Obama, upon taking office, overturned the Mexico City policy that, under previous presidents, had banned U.S. foreign aid dollars from being used to fund abortions; Governor Romney promised that he would reinstate the Mexico City policy. In the past, the Mexico City policy has been quite successful in reducing the number of abortions overseas; it follows that a President Romney would have saved the lives of babies in many countires.

      I’m glad you mention the checks and balances that are a part of the US constitution. Sadly, President Obama is actively ignoring those checks and balances. CDville has done a good job of describing this problem, so I shant add more.

      But I will say again, we pro-life Catholics are in a state of mourning. Further, we are confused and frightened, and many of us are working out these feelings in print. All of these politically-oriented stories have been at least tangentially related to Catholic issues, because Catholic issues in the US are almost always affected by politics.

      Still, it is good for you to call for more articles about Jesus Christ and religion. I always try to keep in mind that Catholic Lane can only print what is submitted to her. I am certain that the editors at CL aren’t turning down religious articles that are faithful to the Magesterium.

  • Fr. W. M. Gardner

    Ironically, a higher birth rate would also hold the promise of a more robust economy, since children and growing families have genuine and increasing needs for goods and services. But economic motives alone are not sufficient to inspire generous parenthood. Perhaps we need to preach it from the pulpit and include petitions for greater generosity among Catholic couples in welcoming children into their circle of love, which is the family. “Ask, and it shall be given you…” Mt. 7:7

  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    thank you for your long post.

    I do hope I have not offended anyone, as we are here to encourage, build up and support each other.

    It seems to me that Romney is similar to a murderer who says it is OK to kill people with guns but not by stabbing, while Obama would not limit the type of murder that can occur. Murder is murder, killing is killing,

    There are 1.2 billion Catholics on earth and CL seems to have a limited number of contributors, yet it is brilliant, as here we discuss and differ in minor things, but are united in our Catholic faith, our mutual respect and our fellowship and discipleship.

    • GuitarGramma

      Dear Noel,
      I always appreciate discussing issues with you. Please know that nothing you’ve said has offended me personally. I live in neither the north nor the south of the US; we west coasters don’t seem to have a nickname! I was just sharing with you how American ears hear things. We have so many funny stories from our time in Australia — where we learned that English isn’t English the world around!
      Here’s a cute one: An American friend of mine needed to buy warm clothes for her children as Australia’s winter was approaching. She was looking for long sleeved, big collar, knit tops, and asked in a clothing store, “Where are the turtle necks?” The shopkeeper directed her to the fish market!
      Regarding pro-choice Romney and pro-choice Obama: We only had two viable choices for president. One of them is actively promoting abortion, the other wanted to implement policies which would elimnate 97% of abortions that are allowed today. I have been frequently bewildered when you have equated the positions of these two politicians. The reality in terms of lives lost or saved is huge. True, Romney’s position was not perfect! But NO ONE who could have won had a 100% pro-life platform. It is a tragedy that that the most pro-abortion president in history has been granted another four years to promote this heinous act.
      A sad fact is that the United States does not have enough pro-life people to outlaw abortion. We must change that, for when hearts change so will the law. In the meantime, I would have been quite happy to see 97% of today’s abortions outlawed under a President Romney.

      • Carlos Caso-Rosendi

        To be defeated anyway it is better to be defeated wearing one’s own colors. There is no such thing as winning some and losing some for God. “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” It did not serve Romney much to be 3% in the other camp. He would have made history by having the guts to fight from a principled platform of sound and godly ideas.

  • Jeebus keeeeeerist, you truly are dumb as paste. Most people would applaud the decrease in teen pregnancy. What a &*#(@ moron.