Unintended Births and Fertility Trends in the U.S. since 1991
One-third of the overall decline in fertility between 2007 and 2016 is attributable to a decline in the number of unintended births.
Over the last ten years, the U.S. fertility rate declined by 13 percent, to the lowest level in the nation's history. The teen birth rate fell from its peak of 62 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 1991 to roughly 19 births per 1,000 women in 2017 — a 69 percent decline. Conversely, the birth rate for women over 30 has risen steadily since 1980, so much so that "[f]or the first time in U.S. history, the age group with the highest birth rate in 2016 was women 30 to 34," Kasey Buckles, Melanie Guldi, and Lucie Schmidt report.
U.S. Consumers Have Borne the Brunt of the Current Trade War
"...[M]uch of the fertility decline of the last ten years is driven by declines among women whose births were likely to be unintended, and specifically by births to young women," they conclude in Fertility Trends in the United States, 1980–2017: The Role of Unintended Births (NBER Working Paper No. 25521). To investigate the role of unintended births in explaining fertility trends, the researchers develop a statistical model to predict whether a birth was unintended, using data from the National Survey of Family Growth and the National Center for Health Statistics' Natality Detail Files. The study classifies a birth as unintended if the mother reports that the child was unwanted or if she reports that she wanted to have children but not for two years or more. With this definition, unintended births peaked in 2005–06 at 35.6 percent of all births. Since then, that fraction has dropped steadily, to 29.5 percent between 2013 and 2015.
— Alex Verkhivker
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