Fewer U.S. Women Are Having Babies Than Ever Before

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A mother and child
A mother and childPhoto: Justin Paget

Yesterday the CDC released quarterly birthrate numbers for the beginning of 2016 that suggest American women are on track to have the fewest number of babies since they began tracking the data in 1909.

Last year was a nearly historic low and so far this year, we’re on track to have fewer than six babies per 100 women ages 15 to 44. While treatments for infertility are improving rapidly and indeed coming down in cost for some women, the numbers suggest that more women than ever before are choosing not to have children.

It’s not very difficult to see why this could be the case. Studies indicate American parents are overworked, unhappy, and in marriages that are strained. This is at least partly (if not completely) because we lack infrastructural supports such as affordable and good child care, parental leave, and livable wages for workable hours that many other nations have managed to cobble together for their citizens at this point. Crucially, there isn’t even agreement on what constitutes fair and supportive policies for parents and families, and by all accounts, the children who are being born are suffering too.

Maybe we have more important parenting issues to broach than women breast-feeding in public.