U.S. birth and fertility rates dropped to another record low in 2020, CDC says
A newborn is cuddled by its mother while it sleeps.
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According to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth and fertility rates in the US fell to another record low in 2020 as births fell to their lowest level since 1979 for the sixth consecutive year.
The number of births in the US declined 4% last year from 2019, double the average annual rate of 2% since 2014, the CDC said in preliminary birth data released on Wednesday. Overall and general fertility rates have also declined 4% since 2019, hitting record lows. The US birthrate is so low that the nation is “below replacement levels,” meaning more people die than are born every day, the CDC said.
While the agency did not directly attribute the overall decline in births to the Covid-19 pandemic, it did research the birth rates of New York women who gave birth to their babies outside the five boroughs during the peak of the US outbreak
Women fled the city to give birth between March and November last year. Out-of-town births among NYC residents peaked more than 10% in both months in April and May – an increase of more than 70% year over year. Among white women, the proportion of out-of-town births in 2020 was 2.5 times higher than in 2019. Out-of-town births among black and Hispanic women were significantly lower, taking only two of the months of last year to.
Overall, births for Hispanic women decreased by 3% from 2019 to 2020, and for white and black women by 4%.
Teenage birth rates fell significantly, with births dropping 6% for 15-17 year olds and 7% for 18-19 year olds, both hitting record lows.
Birth rates among women aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 years declined 6% and 4%, respectively, to hit both lows. Birth rates in women aged 30 to 34 and 35 to 39 years old fell 4% and 2%, respectively, but did not hit record lows, according to CDC data.
The birth rates for women aged 40 and over decreased 44% from 2019, but the birth rates for women aged 45 and over remained unchanged. according to CDC.
The data was based on population estimates derived from the July 1 2010 census and the number of all birth records received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics on February 11. The records represent nearly 100% of the registered births in 2020.
Some experts say that a decline in birth rates could represent a lack of vital resources such as housing and food in this population group, with correlations between increases in unemployment rates and decreases in birth rates. The future economic impact of a drop in birth rates continues to be debated.