The "Circle of Life" runs through my head as I am thinking about this topic. Everyone starts out as a baby, then they grow up to have their own children, who will hopefully have children, then they die, but everyone lives on in a way through the generations. It's just understood that most people will grow up, maybe get married, and then have a couple of children.

Not so much, according to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics. The most recent report says that Americans are not having enough babies to replace current population levels, with the exception of 2 states, our immediate neighbors to the West, South Dakota, and Utah. The fertility rate is calculated by the number of live births per 1,000 women.

"The nation’s total fertility rate was 16 percent below the level for a population to replace itself in 2017, the report found, although fertility rates varied widely by state and demographic. Total fertility rates represent the expected number of lifetime births per 1,000 women, given current birth rates by age."

There are several factors that go into this study, and why Americans are not having as many children, including economic factors. Women are delaying having babies until they are older than a generation ago, which means fewer children. Families are concerned about the financial aspect of bringing a child into their lives, and some just aren't ready to have a baby.

It is interesting to note that the numbers they are looking at start with the Baby Boom after WWII, and the numbers that are declining from that time period, which is a very large time gap from post-WWII to 2018. I learned in a Sociology class in college that birth rates do go down as education and income increase, along with access to fresh water and proper hygiene (worldwide). Perhaps as our Country continues to make educational and economic advancements the population will continue to decline, perhaps not. There is something to be said about the natural drive to have children.