California’s Birth Rate Falls to Record Low

California’s birthrate dropped to its lowest level ever in 2016, accord­ing to data released by the state’s Depart­ment of Finance.

Between July 2015 and July of this year, there were 12.42 births per 1,000 Califor­ni­ans, the agency said this week. The last time the birthrate came close to being that low was during the Great Depres­sion, when it hit 12.6 per 1,000 in 1933.

But, unlike after the Depres­sion, birthrates haven’t bounced back quick­ly as the econo­my has picked up.

Califor­nia has been experi­enc­ing a years-long downward trend that likely stems from the reces­sion, a drop in teenage pregnan­cies and an increase in people attend­ing college and taking longer to gradu­ate, there­fore putting off having children, said Walter Schwarm, a demog­ra­pher at the Depart­ment of Finance. When people do complete their school­ing, they’re inter­est­ed in taking some time to pursue their careers or other goals, he said.

“Eventu­al­ly you think about having a child and by this point in time you’re in your early 30s,” he said. Because that’s also when women’s fertil­i­ty begins to decrease, they end up having fewer children than if they’d start­ed in their 20s, he said.

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