Lowest US birth rate in 3 decades could pose risk to economy

WASHINGTON — Women in the United States gave birth last year at the lowest rate in 30 years, a trend that could weigh on economic growth in the coming decades.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics said Thursday that the number of U.S. babies born last year fell 2 percent from 2016 to 3.85 million, also a 30-year low. Births have fallen for three straight years. The fertility rate dropped 3 percent last year to 60.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 through 44.

An aging society has already weighed on economic growth in the United States in the past decade, with the vast Baby Boom generation retiring and fewer young people replacing them.