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Growth through Natural Increase: Births, Declining Birthrates

childbearing years, fertility rates, family size, generations, decline

The European American population doubled every 20 to 25 years until late in the 18th century, after which birthrates began to decrease and growth rates slowed. This decline in fertility rates early in America’s history is a distinctive characteristic of American society. In the early 19th century white women who lived through their childbearing years were bearing 7 children over the course of their lives; by 1850 it was 5.4 children, by 1950 it was 3.0, and in 2002 it was 2.1. While the longer-established American population experienced a decline in fertility and family size during the 19th century, newer immigrants had higher birthrates. It took two or three generations for these immigrants to conform to the prevailing American fertility standards.

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childbearing years, fertility rates, family size, generations, decline, lives, growth rates, children, course

 
 

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