MRC's Dan Gainor noticed a fascinating story in Friday's paper on America's historically low birth rate that utterly avoided one obvious factor in population decline: Abortion.
Ariana Eunjung Cha's online report was titled "The U.S. fertility rate just hit a historic low. Why some demographers are freaking out." It began:
The United States is in the midst of what some worry is a baby crisis. The number of women giving birth has been declining for years and just hit a historic low. If the trend continues — and experts disagree on whether it will — the country could face economic and cultural turmoil.
According to provisional 2016 population data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the number of births fell 1 percent from a year earlier, bringing the general fertility rate to 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44.
Millennials are causing the drop:
Those supposedly entitled young adults with fragile egos who live in their parents' basements and hop from job-to-job — it turns out they're also much less likely to have babies, at least so far. Some experts think millennials are just postponing parenthood while others fear they're choosing not to have children at all.
This paragraph was the closest to tripping over the abortion issue, a mention of women's "choice."
[Demographer William] Frey attributed the decline in birthrates to a women's “lifestyle” choice as well as the fact the economy has been in a funk. Times of economic downturn or uncertainty tend to cause a drop in birthrates, but when things turn around they tend to bounce back in a kind of catch-up period.
A look at recent CDC abortion data finds the rate in 2013 was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 200 abortions per 1,000 live births. The number of abortions (around 650,000 in 2013) has been declining in recent years as well, but that is obviously part of measuring a country's fertility rate.