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Is it Only the 'Third World' that is Growing? Print E-mail

Fertility rates in the United States peaked in 1957 at 3.7 children/woman; at or below replacement level (2.1) since about 1972 (& currently about 2.07) because: 
- widespread use of birth control 
- availability of legal abortion 
- social attitudes favoring small families 
- increasing cost of raising a child to age 18 ($177,000 for low-income family, $231,000 for middle-income & $335,000 for upper-income) 
- increase in average age of marriage between 1958 & 1992 (from 20 to 24.4 for women, and from 23 to 26.5 for men) 
- More women working outside home (child-bearing rate of "working" women 1/3 that of women not in paid labor force) 
- delayed reproduction

The U.S. population is still growing faster than most MDCs:  
• In 1995, the U.S. population grew by 1.18% (3.1 million people) more than double mean rate of world's industrialized nations. More recently, the nation's population grew by 2.8 million people, or 1.0% between July 1, 2002 and July 1, 2003 
• The U.S. population is projected to increase from 263 million to 345 million between 1995 & 2030, with no leveling off anticipated 
• This projected growth of the U.S. population is due to: 
- large number of baby boomer women still in child-bearing years (i.e., lots of potential mothers) 
- increase in number of unmarried mothers (including teen-agers) 
- higher fertility rates for women in some racial & ethnic groups than for Caucasian women 
- high levels of legal/illegal immigration (about 40% of current growth) 
- U.S. population growth is very important because of the impact that each of us has on the environment, whichever country we live in.

 
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