Thursday, June 21, 2018
Health

Why American women are having fewer babies than ever

The U.S. fertility rate has plummeted to the lowest point on record, according to new federal data. The first quarter of 2016 brought 59.8 babies for every 1,000 women, ages 15 to 44. That's nearly half the rate at the peak of the baby boom in the late 1950s.

The numbers show an unmistakable trend: Women in the U.S. who choose to reproduce keep delaying motherhood. Each generation has waited a little longer for motherhood than the last. Four decades ago, an American woman typically delivered her first baby at age 21. By 2000, she was 24.9. Today, she is 26.3.

A few reasons are obvious: Birth control became widely available to women in the '60s. More women have finished school and launched careers before starting a family. More rejected the idea they had to start a family at all.

Another driver of America's increasingly late parenthood, however, has little to do with feminist empowerment. Many women who want a child or more children choose not to try for them. Some fear they can't afford a baby, researchers say. They're instead working toward stability, an uphill battle for many with student debt or bleak job prospects.

Forty percent of U.S. women ages 40 to 55 say they have fewer children than they'd like, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

"We have to see the declining fertility as being economic," said Nan Astone, senior fellow at the Urban Institute. "The coincidence of decline and recession is hard to ignore."

Between 2007 and 2012, for example, right before and just after the last recession, birthrates among 20-something women fell by 15 percent, according to a 2015 UI Report.

Young women, it turns out, are behind much of America's plummeting fertility rate. From 2015 to 2016, the fertility rate among teens shrank from 75.2 babies per thousand women to 72.5. The rate for women in their 20s decreased from 100.3 to 98.4.

But women in their 30s — those more likely to have a stable career and higher income — experienced a baby bump. The rate for the 30-to-34 group grew from 101 in the first quarter of 2015 to 102 in the first quarter of 2016. Those in their 40s saw a slight increase, as well.

Building a family, regardless of age, is expensive.

Child-care costs across the country are soaring, and the U.S. doesn't guarantee a single day of paid maternity or paternity leave for workers.

It's tough to say whether policy changes, such as implementing paid family leave or introducing new child-care tax credits, would boost fertility among younger women. Republican leaders have argued that creating more high-paying jobs, rather than rolling out sweeping mandates, would better address our economic woes. Donald Trump recently threw a new plan into his party's mix, proposing tax-free child care.

Democrats say female breadwinners deserve more support. Hillary Clinton said the government should cover up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and create more subsidized child care.

"The more we do to help working families," she said recently, "the more our entire economy will benefit."

Comments
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG — Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18
Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

YES, MELANOMAS CAN BEGIN IN THE EYEIs it true that melanoma can develop in the eyes? If so, how common is it? How is it treated?Melanomas can begin in the eye, a condition called intraocular melanoma. Treatment for intraocular melanomas used to prima...
Published: 06/08/18
For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

High-intensity interval training is one of the biggest trends in fitness, but it has always seemed a bit scary to me. To a mere mortal with achy knees and an aging body, even the acronym — HIIT — sounded intimidating.But recently, I overcame my fears...
Published: 06/08/18
Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: ‘dragged’

Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: ‘dragged’

By KATIE WORKMANOne of the amazing things about Italian food is that the best dishes are often so completely, refreshingly simple. Like, four-ingredient simple. (We don’t count olive oil and salt. Or water. Or air.) I love broccoli. I can roast brocc...
Published: 06/08/18