The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released its latest statistics on U.S. births. Boring, you say. Not so. Historic birth patterns tell us a lot about where the country has been — and where it might be going.

We are now experiencing some of the lowest birth figures ever. In 2018, U.S. births totaled 3.788 million, the lowest figure in 32 years. Even worse was the so-called replacement rate: the average number of children each woman must have to stabilize the population, disregarding immigration.

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