The US birth rate has fallen 4% in the largest single-year drop in nearly 50 years, according to a government report.
The rate dropped for mothers of every major race and ethnicity, and in nearly all age groups, falling to the lowest point since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago, the report due to be published on Wednesday said.
Births have been declining in younger women for years, as many postponed motherhood and had smaller families.
Birth rates for women in their late 30s and in their 40s have been inching up, but that trend dipped last year.
The US once was among only a few developed countries with a fertility rate above the 2.1 children per woman that ensured each generation had enough children to replace itself.
But the rate has been sliding for more than 10 years and last year dropped to about 1.6, the lowest rate on record.
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