The Fertility Rate in the US Has Plummeted

T. J. Brearton
Science For Life
Published in
8 min readFeb 6, 2022


It affects everything and no one is talking about it.

For a population to replace itself, the fertility rate, historically and without scientific question, has to be 2.1 (births per woman). In the US, right now that number is 1.70, and decreasing.

In other words, as our population ages, we’re not replacing the people who pass away with new people at a high enough rate. It’s called an “aging population” and it means, among other things:

Fewer new people in the work force.

Greater difficulty in caring for our elderly.

Why is this happening?

Fertility rates are down all over the world, particularly in developed nations, in prosperous nations. (A “jaw-dropping crash” according to BBC News.)

That doesn’t mean particularly for “white” people. Developing nations certainly seem to be growing — the highest world fertility rate is Niger, at 6.82 — but developed nations like Japan rank among the lowest, at 1.36. (The lowest is Singapore, at 0.8.)

The fertility decline is most striking in two of the world’s biggest countries, Russia (1.50) and the United States (1.70). Let’s look at the US and see what’s going on.

Social scientists have studied the data for a couple decades now and what they’ve found is that in the US, women working is one of the biggest contributors to fertility decline. It makes sense — the more women are working, the less, generally, they’re having babies.

Of course, we all know (or should know) that women have every right to work, so let’s not call it “women working” and make it an issue of sex, but call it what it is:

The need for two incomes.

The need for two incomes — and then the costs associated with that; two vehicles, child care, etc. — is considered one of the main causes of fertility rate decline.

It used to be that a family — even of four or five people — could be supported on one…



T. J. Brearton
Science For Life

I’m passionate about the environment, plant-based cooking, philosophy, and mental health. I write thriller novels for a living. Top writer in Climate Change