The birth rate in the United States is lower today than at any point in the nation’s history. As the baby boomer generation — the largest generation in America’s history — is reaching retirement age, this continued decline in the birth rate could cause economic issues in the future as the working generation may struggle to support the retired generation.
To highlight changes in birth rates throughout America’s modern history, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of people born every year since 1933. The birth rate in 2015 was 12.4 per 1,000 Americans, less than half the birth rate in 1947 of 25.8 per 1,000 Americans — the highest rate of all years examined.
Birth rates tend to decline during bad economic times as young adults may choose to limit the size of their family or delay starting one. This is evident in the relatively low birth rates in the 1930s amid the Great Depression and during the recent recession.
After World War II, birth rates shot up and the nation experienced a period of record population growth. In each of the baby boom years from 1946 to 1964, the birth rate was higher than 20 per 1,000 Americans — a level that has not occurred since.
More babies were born in 1955 than in 2015, even though the population then was roughly half the size it was in 2015.
To determine how many people were born the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of births and the birth rate per 1,000 people from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Statistics of the United States report series. Population figures were from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The most popular names for each year came from the Social Security Administration.
Here is a timeline of births in each year, since 1933.