Fertility rates have dropped to their lowest ever recorded in America, a new CDC report reveals.
In the first quarter of 2016, the birth rate is 59.8 babies born to every 1,000 women.
That means for every 100 fertile women, fewer than six will give birth at least once.
The staggering statistics follow the steady trend of decline since records began in 1909, when the birth rate was 126.8 babies per 1,000 mothers.
Research shows a key driving factor in this trend is the increasing numbers of women delaying childbirth to a point where they experience more fertility problems.
Figures show how fertility rates have dropped to their lowest level ever recorded in America
There has also been a steady decline since the peak of 69.3 in 2007, because the recession limited families’ resources to plan for children.
However, the medical community fears there could be other reasons that their current data do not elucidate.
Consequently, as of this year the CDC will be releasing quarterly fertility data – as opposed to annual reports – in a bid to monitor the trend more closely.
Overall, the number of births in women aged between 15 and 29 plummeted.
The medical community has been heartened by the news in the report that teenage births (15- to 19-year-olds) slumped from 22.7 per 1,000 to 20.8 in a year.
However, later pregnancies are on the up.
Huge increases were seen in women aged between 30 and 44.
The biggest spike was seen in 30- to 34-year-olds, up from 95.6 in 2014 to 97.9 in 2015.
Experts also celebrated the downturn in the number of cesarean deliveries, which put a devastating financial strain on hospitals.
Just under 31.9 per cent of mothers get c-sections, down from 32.1 per cent.
In the first quarter of 2016, the birth rate is 59.8 babies born to every 1,000 women. That means for every 100 fertile women, fewer than six will give birth at least once
However, premature births are rocketing, from 9.59 per cent to 9.86 per cent since the first quarter in 2015.
The report, released on Wednesday, coincides with the release of another which documents a rapid spike in maternal mortality rates.
The US now sees as many deaths during childbirth as medics do in Ukraine and Iran.
But uniquely, American mothers tend not to suffer from delivery complications, which were once the primary cause for maternal deaths, and remain the biggest problem in developing countries.
Now, the biggest problem appears to be underlying health conditions – such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – which the mothers had before giving birth.
The figures have been hailed as a wake-up call to policymakers.
According to statisticians, this is the first time America has produced accurate maternal mortality figures since the early 2000s due to different data-collection methods between states.
It means for years America’s maternal mortality rate has appeared much lower than it is.
And some experts warn this underestimation has allowed the serious issue to be swept under the carpet.