The birth rate is the number of live births per 1,000 women of the total population. The birth rate is used in conjunction with the mortality and migration rates to calculate population growth.
The birth rate is often used interchangeably with fertility rate; however, the birth rate is the number of births per 1,000 women of childbearing age (ages 15 to 44) occurring in a particular year.
The birth rate is a concern for some governments. Some governments worldwide are attempting to increase the birth rate with financial incentives or offer support services to new mothers. This is due to these countries having birth rates lower than their mortality rates, resulting in a declining population. Other governments, however, have the opposite problem of high birth rates that are causing overpopulation. This is seen in China’s one-child policy.
Additionally, high birth rates are typically associated with low life expectancy, low living standards and education levels, and low social status for women. Some policies to low the birth rate in some countries have focused on improving women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health. Improved information and access to birth control methods have achieved good results in Iran and Bangladesh.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. birth rate was the lowest in 2018 than it has been in 32 years. The CDC’s report states that the total number of births in 2018 was down 2% from 2017. These numbers are lower than they were after the Great Depression.
Several reasons are cited for the decline in the birth rate. More Americans are delaying marriage and having children due to pursuing higher education and focusing on building careers before building families. Additionally, there are fewer teen pregnancies and greater education and availability of contraception.
American women in their 30s have a higher birthrate for 2017 and 2018 than women in their 20s. Because of the 36.6 million American jobs lost between January 2009 to December 2017, some couples do not want children because they are unsure if they will have stable jobs in the future. According to Wellesley College economics professor, Phil Levine, every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate reduces the birth rate by one percentage point.
In 2019, there were 3,745,540 births, 1% fewer than in 2018. With a total fertility rate of 1.73 births per woman, the U.S. reproducing is below a viable replacement rate, which it has fallen short of since 1971. The U.S. population growth, therefore, relies on immigration.
The U.S. birthrate is 11.6 per 1,000 population. The birth rate varies from state to state. The National Vital Statistics System report from the CDC lays out each state’s birth rate, along with the fertility rate, total fertility rate, and fertility rate by age group of the mother.
The states with the lowest birth rates are:
- Vermont (8.7)
- New Hampshire (8.8)
- Maine (9.2)
- Connecticut (9.7)
- Rhode Island (9.9)
- Massachusetts (10.0)
- Oregon (10.1)
- West Virginia (10.1)
- Florida (10.4)
- Pennsylvania (10.6)
Vermont has the lowest birth rate in the United States of 8.7 per 1,000 population. The six states with the lowest birth rates in the country are located in the northeast. These states will likely see their populations shrink between 2030 and 2040.
The states with the highest birth rates are:
- Utah (14.9)
- North Dakota (14.0)
- Alaska (13.7)
- South Dakota (13.5)
- Texas (13.2)
- Nebraska (13.2)
- District of Columbia (13.1)
- Oklahoma (12.6)
- Kansas (12.5)
- Mississippi (12.4)
Utah has the highest birth rate in the United States of 14.9 per 1,000 population. This is likely because of Utah’s large Mormon population, which is also why Utah has the largest average household size in the country and the lowest median age in the country of 29.2.