Child birth rate below level needed to replace population, QCA women weigh in

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Three Quad City women, with three different stories, all with the same desire to be parents, but a new study shows fewer women are having babies. In fact, the U.S. fertility rate is below the level needed to replace the population. TV6 sat down with some local women to find out their perspective on the trend.

Photo: Pixabay

“Well I have nine children,” said mother of nine, Anna Marie Percuoco.

Anna Marie Percuoco says that proudly. Her seven boys and two girls might be grown and out of the house, but that isn't keeping this mother of nine from slowing down.

“No lollygagging around, we're the army here, boom boom,” said Percuoco.

Percuoco says although there's less laundry to do now. She wouldn't change anything about her path.

“I married a man who came from a family of eight children and I grew up in a family of ten children,” said Percuoco.

Over at Genesis, birthing classes are underway for the first time expecting parents Amanda and Kirk Mueller.

“Nervous, but excited nervous I would say,” said first-time parent, Kirk Mueller.

32-year-old Amanda Mueller says a lot of factors played into why she and her husband waited.

“We wanted to make sure we were set in our careers first, so we had a stable income, insurance,” said a first-time parent, Amanda Mueller.

Genesis Birth Educator/ Doula Char Perkins says Amanda and Kirk aren't the first couples that have decided to wait to have children. According to a study done by CNN, the U.S. fertility rate is below the level needed to replace the population.

“CDC in January, actually looked at it and they said the birth rate was the lowest it had been in 30 years since 1978,” said Perkins.

The study found the total birth rate for the U.S. in 2017, was 1,765.5 children per 1,000 women. Meaning women are having fewer than 2 kids.

“Most of the time the class has got women over the age of 25. I’ve had a woman as old as 46 having her first baby,” said Perkins.

“I know a lot of people who are in the same situation that we are who are waiting much later to start that family, I would agree with that study,” said Kirk Mueller.

The couple says finances and childcare expenses are among other reasons why they waited. Something young professional Christie Bailey can relate to.

“I'd seen kind of all the struggles that come along with having children at a young age. So I knew I wanted to wait until I was stable and ready,” said Estes Construction Business Development Coordinator Christie Bailey.

With Bailey now almost four years at her job, she says she's seeing a shift.

“I think there's a stigma or used to that as soon as you hit a certain age that you're supposed to have children,” said Bailey.

A shift that's a different perspective for all the women.

“My husband and I have had people walk up to us and say how do you afford that many kids? I think that's one thing that keeps a lot of people from having too many children,” said Percuoco.

“I think I’m starting to get to a point where I’ll be ready for a family at my age now,” said Bailey.

“I think it's very difficult to make a comfortable life and not live paycheck to paycheck if you don't have two incomes,” said Amanda Mueller.

The CNN study also looked at the issue state-by-state and it found South Dakota and Utah are the only states where more women are consistently having more than two children.