U.S. Births Declined During The Coronavirus Pandemic

By Bill Galluccio

June 23, 2021

Footprint of child on birth certificate
Photo: Getty Images

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the number of births in the United States declined by 4% in 2020, which marks the largest decline since 1973. There were 3.6 million births in 2020. In 2019, there were 3.75 million births and 3.8 million births in 2018.

The number of births was down by 2% during the first half of the year and accelerated as the coronavirus pandemic worsened as people found themselves under lockdowns. Births were down by 4% in July, 7% in August, 4% in September, 6% in October and November, and 8% in December.

"So, what this particular report points to is something we should take really seriously, which is: Is this decline going to have demographic impacts in the future? And that there will be both impacts in terms of workforce, in terms of economy, in terms of diversity, and population And obviously, what happened in 2020, it will probably happen again at least in 2021," Dr. Rahul Gupta told CNN.

The number of births was down in every state and Washington, D.C. New Mexico, New York, California, Hawaii, and West Virginia had the largest declines in the country.

The number of states that had more deaths than births also increased from 2019 to 2020.

"In 2019, five states had more deaths than births. The most in U.S. history to that time." Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy, told Bloomberg. "In 2020, 25 states had more deaths than births. The decline has continued in early 2021."

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