The U.S. birthrate declined for the sixth straight year and total births dropped to a 42-year-low, according to statistics released Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
The general fertility rate — the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 — fell 4% to 55.8 per 1,000 in 2020. The 3,605,201 births in the U.S. in 2020 were the lowest number the country has seen since 1979.
The U.S. birth rate hasn't seen an increase since 2014 and peaked most recently in 2007. Since 2007, the annual birth rate has fallen by 19%.
The NCHS also noted that the 2020 fertility rate remains “below replacement,” meaning that there won’t be enough babies born for a generation to exactly replace its population.
The New York Times notes that the findings go against speculation that couples hunkering down during COVID-19 quarantines could lead to a baby boom.
Instead, the opposite appears to have happened — births declined by about 8% in December, nine months after quarantines went into effect.
The declining birth rates come as deaths in the U.S. are on the rise — the country’s large Baby Boomer generation is getting older and life expectancy in the U.S. has slightly declined.
Combined with dropping birth rates and a sharp decrease in immigration in recent years, the U.S. has seen its population growing at one of the slowest rates in its history.