The US birth rate is at an all-time low. But maybe that's a good thing.

The National Centers for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report this week that shows the fertility rate and number of births in American are continuing to decline. Fertility has dropped to an unprecedented low and the birth rate has plummeted to its lowest point in over three decades.

There were 1,728 births per 1,000 women, signifying a two percent decrease from 2017 and a record low for the nation. The report points out that the low fertility rate is below the level needed for the population to replace itself, 2,100 per 1,000 women, a trend that has been continuing since 1971.


However, there is an interesting, less negative-sounding statistic hidden in this report. While the birth rate continues to decline for almost every age group of women under 35, it has actually increased for women in their late 30s and early 40s.

So it’s not a total birth decline across the board. And some of the decline is actually a good thing.

For example, Brady Hamilton, lead author of the new report, told Time that a 7% decline in teen pregnancies is “welcome news” for public health, as most of these pregnancies are “mistimed” or “unwanted.” It also insinuates that more teens are using contraception.

Teen pregnancies are also proven to have a negative impact on the national economy. Teenage parents are less likely to graduate from high school or college and often enter the child welfare system, relying on taxpayers for medical and economic support.

What’s more, Hamilton says the report is only a snapshot in time — in this case, the year 2018 — and may not represent “births foregone." It’s simply births that have been postponed. He points out that “women generally do have, in the end, two children”— they might just be doing it later in life.

So people aren’t rushing to become parents, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Parents who welcome children later in life are more likely to be financially stable and children are more likely to thrive.

That said, if the overall population is truly slipping, Social Security and Medicaid could be threatened.

The idea behind these social program is that the working population pays into the fund with income taxes in order to support the aging population who once fulfilled the same duty. The mechanism only works if the fund continues to be fully replenished by each generation.

Experts are concerned that a staggering population will put a financial strain on the programs because there will be less tax-paying individuals to support the aging populations.

“All past projections of the proportion of the U.S. population that will be elderly, and eligible for Medicare and Social Security, have assumed that the previous higher birth rates remained constant,” John Rowe, Julius B. Richmond Professor of health policy and aging health policy and management, explained to FOX Business. “As rates have fallen, and fewer young people ultimately enter the labor force and pay into the Social Security and Medicare Trust funds, the solvency of these funds is threatened.”

It could also threaten the job market.

In recent years, the United States economy and job market have experienced much-needed growth, but the declining birth rate could signify a turnaround as demographers point out there will be fewer young people joining the working population.

Dowell Myers, a demographer at the University of Southern California, called the situation a “national problem.”

He explains that initially, experts believed the falling birthrate was due to the recession, but now think it has more to do with the fact that young people aren’t optimistic about the future. "Not a whole lot of things are going good," he says, "and that's haunting young people in particular, more than old people."

Clearly there are many uncertainties when it comes to population growth and its impact on social programs, the job market and the economy overall. The silver lining is that if parents are being more mindful about how and when they have children, they will likely be better parents. And that alone could ultimately have a positive impact on future generations in every aspect.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."