Ten babies, all but one sleeping, rest in baskets on a porch outside of a maternity ward. (Photo by © Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Americans Aren’t Having Babies Fast Enough to Replace Ourselves

Researchers cite fewer teen pregnancies and changing economics as reasons.

Unless the U.S. starts allowing more immigrants into the country, the American population is going to decrease because we are not making babies fast enough to replace ourselves.

According to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control, the “total fertility rate” must be 2,100 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age over their lifetimes in order to reproduce the U.S. population.

Due to factors such as fewer teen pregnancies, the availability of contraceptives, and changing economics, the ratio of births to women of childbearing age is currently at 1,765.5 per 1,000.

That figure is 16 percent below the number needed to keep the population stable unless additions are made through immigration. It is also the lowest the total fertility rate, which has been in decline, has been in recent history.

By state, the total fertility rate is highest in South Dakota at 2,227 and lowest in Washington, D.C. at 1,421.

An additional factor in the decline is that more and more women are postponing having children until later in life so they can focus on their careers.

That trend may eventually reverse itself and cause the total fertility rate to rise once again.

“It may not be all doom and gloom,” said Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor Donna Strobino. “I think it may stabilize once women who have been postponing pregnancy have the births they are planning to have.”

Read the full story at NBC News