Why Birth Rates Are Significant in Health Studies
Understanding the factors that lead to higher and lower birth rates is important in health science.
Birth rates tell us a lot about community health, and are an important measure in overall health science. Health professionals closely monitor birth rates as they rise and fall, and measure these trends to track important changes and what they may mean for our society’s future.
If you’re interested in studying birth rates and why they are significant, learn more about this important health measure and how earning a bachelor's in health studies or public health can prepare you for a range of careers in the field of health science.
Birth Rates Around the World
Countries measure their birth rates as the number of live births per thousand of population per year. General fertility rate is the number of births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, while total fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime if she were to pass through her childbearing years having births according to the current schedule of age-specific fertility rates.
In 2016, the world’s birth rate was about 18.9 per 1,000 population, after peaking half a century earlier in 1963 at 36.1 per 1,000 population.1 Despite this overall decline, the United Nations (UN) estimates that the human population will reach 9.8 billion by 2050, in part due to high fertility rates in many developing countries.2
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. saw 3,978,497 births in 2015, with a birth rate of 12.4 per 1,000 population. The fertility rate that year was 62.5 births per 1000 women aged 15-44 years.3 Since then, the CDC has released new data showing that the U.S. birth rate fell to a 30-year low in 2017.4
Why Do Birth Rates Rise and Fall?
Health science experts say that a wide range of factors influence birth rates, and whether they go up or down. As societies modernize, they tend to see birth rates decline, in some cases so much so that overall population size drops. Young adults today tend to focus on their careers for longer, rather than starting families. Researchers in community health believe parents limit the number of children they choose to have because of the high cost of raising children in modern society, allowing them to better allocate resources to fewer children. In addition, our changing social networks may steer us less toward having kids than more traditional societies.5
On the other hand, developing countries still see higher birth rates overall, in part due to less access to contraception and family planning health services. In addition, families in agricultural societies tend to have more children for their high economic value.
Why Are Birth Rates Important?
Studying birth rates is important to health science professionals for a number of reasons. The replacement fertility rate, in which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next without migration, is 2.1 children per women, though this can vary based on mortality rates.6 When fertility rates decline below replacement levels, the result is an aging population. Coupled with longer life expectancies, this can become problematic for countries and their economies.
In addition, soaring birth rates in some developing countries can result in lacking resources and infrastructure, including crowded schools and health clinics. Such population growth, say health services experts, can create barriers to development and reducing poverty levels.7
A Great Time to Begin Your Health Education
There are a wide range of exciting and rewarding jobs in health studies. The healthcare industry needs knowledgeable and highly trained professionals for careers in hospitals and clinics, medical diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers, non-profit organizations and more. If you’re looking to earn your BS in Health Studies, or BS in Public Health, look no further than Walden University’s BS in Health Studies degree program.
Walden’s BS in Health Studies program has a curriculum designed to broaden understanding of the policies, organization, financing, and dynamics of the U.S. healthcare system. Along with a general program, Walden’s bachelor’s degree program offers specializations in health management, health promotion and wellness, and health psychology and behavior.
Walden’s BS in Public Health offers a general program and specializations in health management, health promotion and wellness, and health psychology and behavior.
With online classes that give you the flexibility you need to pursue your bachelor’s degree, Walden’s BS in Health Studies program has been designed by recognized leaders in the health sector, and will prepare you for the jobs in health studies you really want to pursue.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Health Studies and BS in Public Health degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.