Press-Republican

FYI...

April 6, 2014

Census: U.S. has fewest births since 1998

The U.S. recorded the most deaths in its history and the fewest births since 1998, resulting in the lowest population gain from natural causes in 35 years, an analysis of 2013 Census Bureau estimates released Thursday shows.

Americans remain cautious about having babies following the worst recession since the Great Depression, although they are increasingly changing residences again, suggesting growing confidence in the economic recovery.

Those are among the findings from county-level data that also show the largest metropolitan areas are getting bigger as much of the rest of the nation sees slower population growth or declines. Rural areas where oil and natural gas production is booming and Gulf Coast retirement conclaves are notable exceptions to that trend.

"The recession's influence on migration may be waning, but it continues to have a negative impact on births," said Ken Johnson, a senior demographer with the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute who analyzed the data.

If the nation returned to a more normal fertility rate, it could boost the economy by spurring demand for new homes and goods ranging from diapers to furniture and cars. Rising fertility rates in states such as South Dakota, where unemployment is 3.6 percent, have prompted some demographers and economists to predict a reversal of the nationwide decline in fertility that coincided with the recession and its aftermath.

Johnson's analysis is based on newly released data for the year ending July 1, 2013. It shows there were 3.95 million births during those 12 months, compared with 4.31 million in the pre-recession 2006-07 period, a drop of 8.4 percent amid an overall U.S. population that continued to grow because of immigration.

The preliminary U.S. fertility rate for the 12-month period ending June 2013 was 62.7 births per 1,000 women ages 15-44, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That was down from the recent-history high of 69.3 in 2007, and slightly down from the year ending June 30, 2012.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 23, 2014

  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 21, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 18, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 17, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 12, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140516-recalls_1357_88cb85dbc81b724b4ae9c83db4426fd8.jpg Auto recalls break single-year US record with six months to go

    With six months left in 2014, automakers have already recalled more vehicles in the United States than in any other year on record.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    July 8, 2014

  • Wanna write a pop song? Here's a foolproof equation

    Pop songs (generally) stay in one key, are in 4/4 time, last between three and five minutes, are organized into chunks of four or eight bars, have a repeating chorus played two to four times, include the title sung at least three times, and feature short melodic fragments that repeat a lot to help everyone to remember them.

    July 7, 2014