In the continuation of a longer-term trend stretching back over a decade, the number of births in the U.S. fell by 4% in 2020, pushing the birth rate to its lowest point on record. Experts attribute falling birth rates to the increase in the average age of mothers, as people have been marrying and having children later in life. A growing body of evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have deterred many would-be parents from starting families.
As it has been since 2007, the U.S. birth rate is well below what is referred to as “replacement-level fertility,” the birth rate a country must maintain to keep population levels stable without immigration. This could prove to be a problem. Though it is impossible to predict the implications with any degree of certainty, an aging and shrinking population could slow economic growth, strain government funding, and lead to worker shortages.
While birth rates are at historic lows nationwide, in some states, birth rates far exceed the national average of 10.8 births per 1,000 people. Using birth data over the one-year period ending on July, 1, 2021 from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Tempo identified the states with the highest birth rates. Birth rates range from as low as 7.9 per 1,000 to as high as 13.8 per 1,000, depending on the state.
In all but two of the 15 states with the lowest birth rates, deaths outnumbered births from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021. Meanwhile, births outnumbered deaths in all but three of the 15 states with the highest birth rates. Births minus deaths, as well as migration — people moving in and out of a given state — are the factors that contribute to overall population change. Here is a look at the top city Americans are moving to.
Generally, the states with the highest birth rates are mostly in the South, while those with the lowest are disproportionately located in the Northeast.
To determine the states with the highest birth rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program. States were ranked based on the number of new births from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 per 1,000 residents. Data on total population change and population change due to natural growth — new births minus deaths — were also calculated using data from PEP.
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