Vox Distorts the Birthrate Statistics

Take a look at two charts of birthrates by age from the Institute for Family Studies (above) and the Vox article The historically low birthrate, explained in 3 charts (below):

agespecificfertility                 vox-birthrate

The Vox chart looks nothing like the IFFS chart. First thing to notice is that the Vox chart uses a logarithmic scale, which exaggerates the growth of birthrate among women 40-44 an makes the decline in birthrates among women 20-24 and 25-29 look less severe than they are. Vox also chose a much longer time-frame for their chart, which makes the recent declines for women among their 20’s look even less severe. This deception allows Vox to make the following conclusion:

In this chart, you’ll also notice another, related good news story: that the birthrate has actually increased for older moms. Women ages 35 to 44 are more likely to have kids these days than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

Except that, as you can see clearly from the IFFS chart, over the last 12 years, the decline in births among women in their teens and 20’s vastly outweighs the increase from women in their 30’s and 40’s.

So while delaying childbearing may mean having fewer kids, like the teen birthrate, it’s also a sign of women’s advancement and improved conditions, said John Rowe, a professor of health policy and aging at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Women’s participation in the workforce increased delayed pregnancy. So women are having their first child at a later age. And when that happens, the total number of kids they have is fewer.”

I would agree that having fewer teenage pregnancies is an improvement. Delayed childbearing is only an advancement if you consider having to participate in the workforce an improvement. Not all women do.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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