COVID-19: US birth rate hits lowest level since 1979
Published: 11:25 AM, 6 May 2021
The birth rate in the United States fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2020, with the lowest number of babies born since 1979, according to a new report.
About 3.6 million babies were born in the US in last year - marking a 4 percent decline from the year before, reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.
The slump was seen across all recorded ethnicities and origins, according to the findings.
The national picture mirrors a decline in births seen worldwide, a trend some experts say has been accelerated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In the CDC report, demographers examined the country's general fertility rate, which compares the number of live births with the number of women considered to be of childbearing age - between 15 and 44 years old.
In 2020, the general fertility rate in the US was about 56 births per 1,000 women - the lowest rate on record and about half of what it was in the early 1960s.
The decline in birth rates was seen across all measured racial and ethnic groups. Births dropped by 4 percent among white, black and Latina women, 9 percent for Asian women, 3 percent for Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders and 7 percent for Native American and Alaska native women.
The report also analysed the total US fertility rate, which estimates how many babies a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have over their lifetime based on actual birth rates. For a generation to exactly replace itself, this number must be at or above 2.1.
According to the CDC, this rate has generally been "below replacement" since 1971 and has consistently been below replacement since 2007. Today, the US total fertility rate sits at 1.6 - another record low.