2006 Census Report on Fertility

HT: Greg Laughlin - thanks!


This report indicates that my family of seven children is in a minority of less than 2% of the population (they stopped counting at five children). I remember filling out this census questionnaire, and there was not room for all our family data. But, the bureau actually called after they received the form to interview me for the rest of the data. The number of families with seven or more children must have been even more statistically insignificant than the 2% who have five or more.

Some of the "highlights" from the report:

The level of childlessness among women 40 to 44 years old in June 2006, 20 percent, is twice as high as 30 years ago (10 percent).

Women 40 to 44 years old will end their childbearing years with an average of 1.9 children each, a number below replacement-level fertility. Hispanic women will have an average
of 2.3 children each, higher than that of White non-Hispanic, Black, or Asian women.

Women near the end of their childbearing years, 40 to 44 years old in 2006, had an average of 1.9 children—more than one child fewer than the average for women in the same age group in 1976 (3.1 children). This shift in the average number of children ever born reflects the decline in the number of women having higher order births (three or more children) over the past three decades from 59 percent in 1976 to 28 percent in 2006 and also the increase in the proportion of women not having any births (from 10 percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2006).

Complete Fertility for women 40 to 44 was the following by various characteristics:

Non-Hispanic Whites: 1.767
Asians: 1.689
Blacks: 2.003
The only group with an above-replacement-rate TFR were Hispanics at 2.3.

Of women born in America, the completed TFR was 1,823, compared to 2.052 for foreign-born women.

More educated women had lower completed TFRs (1.596 for those with graduate or professional degrees) compared to those with less education (2.447 for those who failed to complete high school -- the only group with an above-replacement-rate TFR).

Those with family incomes of $100,000 or above had a lower completed TFR (1.832), than those below that level of income. Those with family incomes between $35,000 and $49,999 had the highest completed TFR at 2.052.


GL said...

I took away several observations from the census report. First, we are no longer a nation which is reproducing ourselves. Even a couple of years ago, Mark Steyn could write of our replacement rate fertility compared to Europe's sub-replacement rate TFR. No more. At a 1.9 TFR, we are also well below replacement rates. All demographic groups show declines, but the Hispanics show the largest. And with the nations from which most of our immigrants arrive also showing steep declines in TFR, trouble looms on the horizon, even more for them than for us, because our demand for labor and higher living standards will almost certainly result in huge drains on their populations. The generation after that one will really see declines unless these trends are reversed.

Second, the best educated and wealthiest are the least fertile, a trend that appears to be as old a man. So much, however, for the canard that we are having fewer children because we can't afford them. The truth is painfully obvious from the data: we prefer the "good life" to having children. Just like the ancient Canaanites, we are sacrificing our children to our gods. I have to wonder how much of our lauded prosperity is real and how much of it simply represents the excess wealth saved by denying existence to the next generation. I have come to have a more jaundice view of our economic growth than I used to have.

Matt said...


I really appreciated your comments here. I also think that America's prosperity is largely a sham that reflects how selfish the nation is on average.