COVID pandemic slowed US population growth: Study

Matthew Carnes prepares to change diapers for his newborn daughter Evelina Carnes as his wife Breanna Llamas keeps watch in the postpartum unit at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on March 30, 2021 in Apple Valley, California.
Matthew Carnes prepares to change diapers for his newborn daughter Evelina Carnes as his wife Breanna Llamas keeps watch in the postpartum unit at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on March 30, 2021 in Apple Valley, California. Photo credit Mario Tama/Getty Images
By , KCBS Radio

Yet another troubling outcome of the pandemic – fewer babies have been born.

The number of births in the United States fell by 4% in 2020, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the first half of 2020, births were down 2% and the number of births fell even more in the second half of 2020, with births down 4% in July, 7% in August, 4% in September, 6% in October and November, and 8% in December, the researchers found.

The number of births declined for all states and Washington, D.C., in the second half of last year compared with the same period in 2019.
It's "the largest annual decline in the number of births since 1973," researchers wrote.

Births had been falling by about 2% a year already, but 2020 brought a greater decline, according to the report.

Researchers counted around 3.6 million births in 2020, down from about 3.75 million births in 2019 and 3.8 million births in 2018.

The states with the largest declines in births for the second half of 2020 were: New Mexico, New York, California, Hawaii, and West Virginia. Declines were not seen as significant in seven states: Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming.

And declines in the numbers of births each month were greater among women of color compared with white women.

"Evaluation of trends in births by month will continue to determine whether these declines continued into 2021 or were unique to 2020 during the time of the initial COVID-19 pandemic," the researchers wrote.

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