SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The U.S. fertility rate has continued to decline according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The study shows a two percent decrease in the U.S. this past year. This is the lowest number of births in three decades.
Local doctors say births in Siouxland are reflecting that national trend. In 2018 Woodbury County saw a near two percent decrease in births compared to last year, but a 20 percent decrease from the number of babies born a decade ago.
“There has been a slight decrease in the number of deliveries that reflects what has gone on nationally in Sioux City,” said Al Fleming M.D., the director of maternal-fetal medicine at UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s.
The last time the state of Iowa saw a birthrate this low was back in 2001.
“I think we had more kids back then because money wasn’t as tight and a lot of women didn’t go off to college. It was kind of the norm to stay home and have children,” said Sheila Schumann, a mother in Sioux City.
Dr. Fleming says part of the decrease is likely to do to women delaying childbirth to focus on their education and careers.
“Personally, my husband and I met and married shortly before we turned 30 and then started having our family,” said Annie Richmond, a mother in Sioux City.
The Richmond’s now have two young boys but say deciding when to start a family was a big decision
“It’s really hard to be a modern mom when there is a lot on our shoulders, especially if you’re working and a lot of mom are working and feeling pulled in a lot of different directions,” said Richmond.
However, doctors say that delaying children can also lead to fertility challenges which may require medical intervention.
“Those treatments can be addressed by reproductive endocrinologist then you’re able to have children at a later age,” said Fleming.
“It becomes this like mental nightmare where you’re fighting yourself and your fighting your hormones and after a while your like what is wrong with me,” said Sioux City mother Elizabeth Cuka.
After years of waiting, the Cuka family eventually had to turn to IVF to have a child.
“I love being a mom and I love the twins that I was given and the time of life that we are in,” said Cuka.
Economists say there need to be enough people born in order to replace those who are retired to help strengthen the job market or it could begin to struggle.
To view Iowa’s birthrate numbers, click here.