The birth rate in California dropped to the lowest level ever recorded in 2016, a new report from the state Department of Finance found.
The state birth rate of 12.42 births per 1,000 residents is close to the national average of 12.5 births per 1,000; however, it is California’s lowest recorded birth rate ever, lower than the 12.6 per 1,000 during the Great Depression in 1933, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The low birth rate also is interesting given that California has a younger, higher child-bearing age population than many other states.
Here’s more from the report:
But, unlike after the Depression, birthrates haven’t bounced back quickly as the economy has picked up.
California has been experiencing a years-long downward trend that likely stems from the recession, a drop in teenage pregnancies and an increase in people attending college and taking longer to graduate, therefore putting off having children, said Walter Schwarm, a demographer at the Department of Finance. When people do complete their schooling, they’re interested in taking some time to pursue their careers or other goals, he said.
Another factor not mentioned in the report could be California’s liberal abortion laws, accompanied by its recent attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers.
California’s abortion rate is higher than the national average. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 23 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2011 in California, compared to 16.9 per 1,000 nation-wide.
Some of the state’s more recent laws also seem to favor abortion over childbirth by making it easier for women to abort their unborn babies and harder for them to find life-affirming alternatives.
One onerous new law that took effect in January 2016 forces pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise free and low-cost abortions available through the state. The law forces about 150 pro-life non-profits to choose between advertising abortions and facing fines of up to $1,000 if they do not comply.
Another attack came from the Oakland City Council in July when it passed an ordinance banning ads from pro-life pregnancy centers, claiming they amount to “false advertising.”
These pregnancy centers are non-profit organizations, largely run by volunteers. They offer pregnant and parenting moms life-affirming information, resources and encouragement to help them recognize the value of their unborn babies.
In 2016, California made No. 4 on Americans United for Life’s list of states that least protect women and children from abortion industry abuses. One of AUL’s reasons was California’s “continued attacks on [the] life-affirming mission of pregnancy centers.”
Another California law that went into effect in 2015 expanded the availability of abortions by allowing nurses and midwives to do abortions, putting countless women and their unborn babies in jeopardy. One study found abortions done by non-physicians were twice as likely to have complications as those done by licensed physicians.
California is one of the few states that offers taxpayer-funded abortions as well. It has very few regulations surrounding the deadly procedure, not even common sense laws such as parental consent/notification when a girl under 18 wants an abortion. Nor does it require waiting periods that help to ensure women are fully informed and not rushed into aborting their unborn child.
While many states’ legislators have been working to pass greater protections for unborn babies and moms, California’s have been promoting abortion instead; and the birth rate appears to be reflecting that.