New numbers released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) show that the fertility rate in America has dropped to an all time record low. The NCHS is a government agency that is housed within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These numbers represent a trend not just in the United States, but across first world countries.

Stats on the US fertility rate

The fertility rate in America for the first quarter of 2017 hit an all-time low, dropping to 61.5 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. This is the lowest number that the NCHS has recorded since they started tracking the country's fertility rate back in 1909.

This was also a large drop from the same time last year, as it was 62.5 births per 1,000 women. According to Brady Hamilton, who is an expert in fertility date and a statistician-demographer with the NCHS, this was a significant shift in only one year. This means that the difference is greater than mere chance would have pegged it to be.

What do these numbers mean?

Hamilton talked about how fertility rate numbers give demographers an estimated as to how many kids are being born into a country's population over a certain period of time. They can also help to examine the level of reproduction and how it changes in a population over time. It lets demographers examined how the country's population has changed over time, where it currently stands and how it could project for the future.

The NCHS report is based on birth certificates, so researchers do not know the choices and decisions that people made leading up to the birth. This means that researchers can only speculate as to why the birth rate has declined, although most point to how the economy has changed and a greater significance being placed on women's education and careers in the workforce.

Declining fertility rate and older births

For women between the ages of 30-34, there were 101.9 births per 1,000 women according to the NCHS report. It was even 11.4 per 1,000 for women between the ages of 40-44. This shows that more women are delaying childbirth until later in life, as they focus on getting an education and making a career.

However, this trend of older birth and a declining fertility rate is not just an American one.

Fertility rates have been dropping across most of the world in the last few decades. However, the countries most affected by this are most of Europe and East Asia, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This, in turn, is affecting the replacement rate in most countries, since there are not enough younger people to replace aging populations that are living longer.