California’s birth rate fell to its lowest level in at least 100 years during 2017, even dipping below rates seen in the Great Depression, according to new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 471,500 California babies were born in 2017, down by 17,000, or 3 percent, from 2016, according to the CDC data, which is provisional. Births also fell nationwide.
The state’s birth rate fell to 11.9 births per 1,000 residents. By comparison, there were about 21 births per 1,000 residents in 1990. During the height of the Great Depression, there were 13.1 births per 1,000 Californians.
California women are waiting longer to have children — or deciding not to have children at all.
In 1980, almost 50 percent of 26-year-old California women lived with their own child, census figures show. By 2016, that figure had dropped to 27 percent.
About 80 percent of 36-year-old California women lived with their own child in 1980. By 2016, that figure had dropped to 69 percent.
The trend crosses all ethnic lines. Even though the number of California women between 15 and 50 grew during the past decade, the number of births fell among all ethnicities.