Population: The Shrinking Family

The U.S. birth rate, falling steadily for the past decade, reached an alltime low last year, and is projected to drop even further in the years ahead. The 1967 rate, announced by Washington's National Center for Health Statistics, is 17.9 births for every 1,000 Americans, a figure below the previous record low of 18.4 set in the Depression years of 1933 and 1936.

The ups and downs of the U.S. birth rate (see chart) have experts pondering the mysteries of cause and effect. After both World Wars, there was a predictable surge after servicemen returned from overseas. But how to account...

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