People are having fewer babies in North Dakota for the first time in over a decade, and experts say the economy is to blame, although it may not be the only factor.
“It could be the economy has created some uncertainty with people whether or not to have children,” Kevin Iverson, manager of the North Dakota census office, told the Associated Press. North Dakota's economy has recently slowed in reaction to "depressed crop and oil prices" added the demographer.
The information comes from the ND Department of Health's recent annual report of vital records in 2015. There were 11,265 live births last year, which is down just 87 from the year before.
However, that decline is a stark contrast to the triple-digit increases in births – 761, 519, and 838 – in the previous three years. The increased birth rate mirrored the state's increase in oil production, explained AP and the Bismarck Tribune.
Iverson told the Bismarck Tribune that the trend could be a statistical anomaly, or it could be a nationwide phenomenon – noting how U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fertility among women was at its lowest point nationally since record keeping began.
Not only is North Dakota seeing a decrease in births, its also experiencing its lowest abortion rate in 35 years, according to LifeSiteNews.
North Dakota only has once abortion clinic – the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo. That clinic carried out 1,166 abortions in 2015, 98 fewer than the year before, reported the outlet.
The Red River clinic director Tammi Kromenaker told LifeSiteNews that she attributes an increase in funding and use of birth of control to the decline in abortions.
Gilda Sedgh, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute – an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood – agrees that an increase in birth control has contributed to a nationwide decline in abortions, as well as better sex education, reports LiveActionNews.
However, the outlet says that pro-choice and pro-life advocates completely disagree about why the worldwide decline in abortions is happening. You can click here to read more about that debate.