Hospital nursery

Hospital nursery

Americans women aren't having as many babies as in previous years, researchers say. But here's the odd part -- and it involves Alabama.

From The New York Times:

"The steepest declines have been in Western states, especially previously high fertility states like Utah. Only Alabama and Connecticut have posted any likely increase in their general fertility rate over the last three years. Connecticut’s fertility rate has been roughly tied for lowest in the nation for several years, however, so a small gain isn’t saying much. Alabama’s increase is more interesting, but peaked in late 2015 and has been declining since."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show the total fertility rate at 1.77 lifetime births per woman, down 3.8 percent since 2015, per The Times. That's down 16.4 percent since its most recent peak at 2.12 in 2007.

The reasons why are a complicated mix of economy, demographics, education and millennial trends. Why Alabama represents an outlier in this national trend is a question for someone a lot smarter in these matters than me.

Here's more from The Times:

"As millennials in particular take their time to pair up, the average age of first birth is rising steadily. Today, the average age of a woman at first birth is over 26 years old. And while that is much higher than in the past, many European countries have an average age of first birth over 30, so there seems a lot more room to rise. In fact, the United States has the youngest age of first childbirth of any developed country."

-- Phillip Tutor