A recent report revealed that women are delaying starting families, are having fewer children, and some are choosing not to have children at all. A CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, report revealed the United States general fertility rate decreased by three percent from 2022, reaching a historic low. This means just under 3.6 million babies were born in 2023, compared with almost 3.7 million in 2022.

“The highest rates have, over time, been shifting towards women in their 30s whereas before it used to be with women in their 20s,” Dr. Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the new report told the media. “One factor, of course, is the option to wait. We had a pandemic, or there’s an economic downturn, let’s say—women in their 20s can postpone having a birth until things improve and they feel more comfortable. For older women, the option of waiting is not as viable.”

This marks the second consecutive year of decline, following a brief one percent increase from 2020 to 2021. From 2014 to 2020, the rate consistently decreased by two percent annually. However, the most noteworthy statistic from the report is the unprecedented low level of the total fertility rate, which dropped to 1.62 births per woman in 2023. This figure is well below the replacement rate, a benchmark of 2.1 births per woman.  The replacement level is the fertility level needed for one generation to replace itself. 

Millicent Jackson is almost 40 and is an engineer who works in Washington, D.C. “My career is important to me and I’ve focused on it for so long that marriage and family were on the back burner.  Now that I’m getting older I think I’m ready for a husband and children,” she told The Final Call.


That thinking is prevalent in the minds of many Millennials and GenZers.  Adding to career aspirations, student loan debt, the high cost of childcare, high mortgage rates, high inflation and sky-high housing costs are realities they face.  For these young people, the decision to become parents or not become parents becomes an increasingly more challenging decision.  According to U.S. Census records in 1990, 60 percent of adults 30-34 had one child. Today only 27 percent of adults ages 30-to-34 have one child. The report showed that birth rates declined for women aged 15 through 39.

“Today’s 30 year old is struggling to find a job and housing. Many have moved back home.  They aren’t doing as well as their parents did at 30 and aren’t having children,” Dr. Khalillah Ali told The Final Call. She’s a family physician in Arizona. “We are witnessing the fall of America.  Young people have little faith in the American Dream. That’s why we see college campuses overrun with protestors.”

While birth rates are declining overall, they are declining even faster for non-White women. General fertility declined five percent for Black women as well as American Indian and Alaska Native women and three percent for Asian women, according to the report, released April 25.  

“Black women are concerned about the rising rates of Black maternal deaths and birth complications. They see social media and the women having birth challenges from Serena Williams to the woman next door,” said Dr. Ali.

CDC data shows that Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women, with most of the maternal deaths being preventable.  The CDC found that among pregnancy-related deaths with timing information, 22 percent of deaths occurred during pregnancy, 25 percent occur on the day of delivery or within seven days after, and 53 percent occurred between seven days to one year after pregnancy.

These concerns are for all Black women regardless of income and education levels. According to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the wealthiest Black woman in California is at a higher risk of maternal mortality than the least wealthy White woman. 

The CDC also found that Black women are more likely to experience life-threatening conditions like preeclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, and blood clots, as well as increased frequency of other pregnancy-related complications like preterm birth and low birth weight. 

Other findings in the new report:

•         The birth rate for teenagers aged 15-19 was down three percent in 2023 to 13.2 births per 1,000 women.

•         The birth rate for women ages 20–24 (55.4) reached a record low.

•         The cesarean delivery rate increased for the fourth year in a row to 32.4 percent in 2023; the low-risk cesarean delivery rate increased to 26.6 percent.