U.S. birthrate increased slightly last year but it’s still lower than before the pandemic

The U.S. birthrate increased slightly last year but it’s still lower than before the pandemic, according to new data.

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The Associated Press says the number of births in the U.S. increased by 1% since the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the largest one-year drop in births in the country in about 50 years. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System showed that there were 86,000 fewer births in 2021 than in 2019. The AP says the U.S. birthrate has been declining steadily for more than a decade before the pandemic.

The data

In 2021, the U.S. reported 56.6 births to about 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the CDC’s NVSS and the New York Times. The national birthrate declined by about 2% every year since 2014 up until last year. In 2020, the birthrate dropped 4% with evidence showing that women were possibly delaying pregnancy

The CDC’s NVSS shows that last year there were about 3,659,289 births in the U.S. and that is 46,000 additional births than in 2020.

“This report presents provisional 2021 data on U.S. births. Births are shown by age and race and Hispanic origin of mother. Data on cesarean delivery and preterm births are also presented,” says the CDC’s NVSS in its report. The data is based on 99.94% of all birth records for 2021 that the National Center for Health Statistics obtained in February 2022.


The NYT says one of the biggest factors that goes into the birthrate is the economy. They say that birthrates tend to drop during “periods of economic distress.” The NYT compares the decline that we have seen over the last few years the Great Recession, where millions of Americans lost their jobs which affected birthrates.

Another factor is that women are waiting longer to have children. The NYT says birthrates for women between 15 to 24 decreased but saw an increase in births for women 25 to 49 years old.