The birth rate in the United States has plummeted to its lowest point in a century. According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis, nearly 3.6 million newborns were reported last year.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics revealed last Thursday that the general fertility rate among women of childbearing age was 54.4 births per 1,000, down 3% from the previous year.

To put into perspective the gravity of the situation, the United States currently ranks 145th, globally, in terms of birth rates. America is not even among the top 50% of countries with the highest birth rates worldwide. 

Conservative states tend to have higher birth rates than their left-leaning neighbors with states such as Texas, South Dakota, and Nebraska consistently outpacing California, Oregon, and New York in birth rates. The difference in birth rates between conservative and liberal states is unsurprising considering that conservatives tend to marry at higher rates than their counterparts.  

One of the most obvious problems with the declining birthrate is that should the United States continue in this trend, the workforce will be unable to sustain itself due to its inability to republish existing jobs.

Lower birth rates not only affect the workforce but also create a ripple effect on social capital, significantly impacting society’s functioning ability. 

Parents are more likely to actively engage in their local communities, participate in religious organizations, volunteer, and spend quality time with relatives. 

The decrease in fertility rates indicates smaller families, which in turn, decreases the quality of community engagement, a vital aspect of a thriving society.

This decline is no surprise to me. Gen Z was born into a post-9/11 world with war, a devastating recession, and a global pandemic. Young women in my generation, who are at the forefront of this trend, have voiced their financial concerns extensively through viral TikTok videos and articles. Over 70% of Zoomers desire to attain financial stability.

Young women fear entering an economy burdened with educational debt, the nation’s student debt crisis nearing $2 trillion, a reality that has significantly influenced their decisions about starting families.

This year, Business Insider estimated that the cost for one child in the U.S. in 2024 will be at least $25,714. When you multiply this average yearly cost by the minimum time needed to raise a child,  typically 18 years, the estimated total cost for one child comes to $462,852. 

Unfortunately, many Gen Z women are unaware of the biological realities of their reproductive clock. Waiting until their 30s to consider having children can make pregnancy significantly more challenging, as fertility declines notably after the age of 32.

If we want more babies, we need to promote a society that supports and encourages people to start families. 

A culture of life can be achieved by advocating for flexible economic policies that empower entrepreneurs and independent contractors to balance family with earning income, leading to economic flourishment and implementing fiscally responsible family policies that support family well-being.