US Birth & Fertility Rates Hit New Record Lows: Why?


1. US Births Fall 4% To 42-Year Low – What Happened?

2. Don’t Blame Falling Birth Rate All on the Pandemic

Overview: US Birth Rate Falls 6th Consecutive Year: Why?

The US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that the US birth rate plunged for its sixth consecutive year in 2020. The US fertility rate also hit a new record low. Demographers are puzzled at this potentially troubling trend, but most agree it is due to a combination of factors. But whatever the reasons, the Millennial Generation is marrying less and having significantly fewer babies.

While many who saw the new birth rate numbers last week automatically assumed the larger than expected drop was due to the COVID pandemic, the coronavirus crisis was only a minor factor, as I will explain below. The US birth rate has been falling for six years now, a trend which began long before COVID.

US Births Fall 4% To 42-Year Low – What Happened?

The number of births in the US fell 4% in 2020, dropping to the lowest level since 1979 and continuing a multi-year trend of declining birth rates. That's according to a report published last Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency reported 3,605,201 births in 2020, down from 3,747,540 during the year prior, based on provisional data from more than 99% of birth certificates issued during the year. 2020 marks the sixth consecutive year that the number of births in the US has fallen, the agency reported.

The birth rate among all women of child-bearing ages fell to a new record low, dipping to just 12.3 births per 1,000 women, as you can see in the chart below.

US Births