For Immediate Release, May 16, 2019


Stephanie Feldstein, (734) 395-0770,

New Data Finds U.S. Birth Rate at Lowest Level in 32 Years

Slowing Fertility Can Help Reduce Pressure on Wildlife, Climate

WASHINGTON— Data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that last year the United States had the lowest number of births in 32 years.

According to the findings, there were 3,788,235 births recorded in 2018, down 2 percent from 2017. The total fertility rate also dropped 2 percent.

“Politicians tend to sound the alarm whenever birth rates slow down. But they should be celebrating,” said Stephanie Feldstein, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Population and Sustainability program. “When people choose to have smaller families and are given the tools to do so, we can reduce pressure on wildlife and the environment. It also makes communities more resilient when facing the harsh reality of the climate crisis.”

The CDC report did not explore why people are having fewer children, but recent polls indicate that climate change has become a serious concern in family planning. A 2019 Business Insider poll found that 38 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 agree that climate change should be a factor in a couple’s decision about whether or not to have children. And a 2018 New York Times poll found that 33 percent of men and women between the ages of 20 and 45 are having fewer children than their ideal number because they’re worried about climate change.

A recent scientific report from the United Nations compounds these concerns. Scientists found that at least 1 million species are at risk of extinction because of human-related causes, primarily habitat loss and climate change.

“Birth rates continue to fall even as attacks on reproductive rights are on the rise,” said Feldstein. “People want to make family planning decisions based on what’s best for their health, their families and their future. That’s why it’s critical to defend safe, legal access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion.”

The Center's population and sustainability program promotes a range of commonsense solutions like access to family planning and reproductive health services, as well as education, opportunity and equal rights for women and girls.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.