US births hit a 35-year low last year, US officials announced Wednesday, part of an ongoing "baby bust" that is not predicted to get better under the coronavirus pandemic.
Mothers gave birth to some 3.75 million babies in 2019, down one percent from the previous year and the lowest number since 1985, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
The US birth rate has mostly declined since the 2007-2009 global economic downturn, with millennials forming families at slower rates than their predecessors.
Economists indicate that periods of economic decline give couples pause before planning to procreate.
With more than 30 million US jobs destroyed at least temporarily amid shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, millennials, a generation that came of age during the Great Recession and that is now at peak childbearing age, may be putting off starting or expanding a family.
According to the report, birth rates in 2019 declined for almost all age groups of women under 35 but rose for those in their early 40s.
The birth rate for teenagers aged 15-19, meanwhile, declined by five percent.
The falling birth rate is opposite of what occurred in the years following World War II, a period of time when the United States enjoyed considerable prosperity.
Those returning from war gave birth to an uptick in infants who became known as the "baby boomers," a term used to describe people born between up to the mid-1960s.
The new figures out Wednesday represented the fifth year since 2014 that US births have declined.
The data also showed that the total fertility rate, or number of births a typical woman would have over her lifetime, fell to 1.7.
© 2020 AFP