Despite recent economic success, a recent report from Pew Research entitled ‘Is U.S. fertility at an all-time low? Two of three measures point to yes’ indicates that for the fourth year in a row, a key U.S. fertility rate has reached record lows according to the most recent government data.
While the cause of the decline is uncertain, there are many factors and complexities when it comes to fertility rates. Some demographers are concerned that this is a full blown crisis, while others view the decline as a positive thing.
There are also different ways to measure fertility.
“Three of the most commonly used indicators are the general fertility rate (GFR), completed fertility, and the total fertility rate (TFR). All three reflect fertility behavior in slightly different ways – respectively, in terms of the annual rate at which women are presently having kids; the number of kids they ultimately have; or the hypothetical number they would likely have based on present fertility patterns.”- Pew Research
Then there is the issue of plunging sperm counts in the west. From the Independent:
“Sperm counts have plunged by nearly 60 per cent in just 40 years among men living in the West, according to a major review of scientific studies that suggests the modern world is causing serious damage to men’s health.
Pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals, diet, stress, smoking and obesity have all been “plausibly associated” with the problem, which is associated with a range of other illnesses such as testicular cancer and a generally increased mortality rate.
The researchers who carried out the review said the rate of decline had showed no sign of “leveling off” in recent years.” – The Independent
Finland’s birth rate plummeted to a low not seen in 150 years. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently introduced programs aimed at stemming the country’s “deep demographic declines.” The government of Denmark produced a bizarre ad campaign that encouraged couples to “Do it for Denmark” and conceive babies while on vacation, and Poland ran a campaign urging its citizens to “breed like rabbits.”
According to the data, there are many issues that could factor into this, including environmental and social. Scientist have pointed to genetically modified foods, an increase of obesity and sedentary lifestyles all the way to the HPV Vaccine Gardasil.
According to a recent Gallup Poll:
“Americans are among the most stressed populations in the world – on par with many countries in the developing world, according to a new survey on global well-being.
Some 55 percent of Americans reported feeling ‘a lot’ of stress within the past 24 hours, according to the Gallup poll of roughly 150,000 people around the globe – including more than 1,000 U.S. adults. That puts Americans well above the global average of 39 percent.”
While by all measures fertility rates, sperm count and testosterone levels are all on the decline in the west, its important to note that there are still many unknown and unanswered questions. One thing is certain, more research needs to be done into this topic.