Women in the United States gave birth last year at the lowest rate in 30 years, a trend that could weigh on economic growth in the coming decades. The number of U.S. babies born last year fell 2 percent from 2016 to 3.85 million, also a 30-year low. Births have fallen for three straight years. The fertility rate dropped 3 percent last year to 60.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 through 44.
An aging society has already weighed on economic growth in the United States in the past decade, with the vast baby boom generation retiring and fewer young people replacing them and the trend is likely to continue. Aside from fewer workers, an aging society can hold back growth because fewer people are buying homes, cars and other costly purchases. As elderly people live longer, they also slow their spending while in retirement.