Continuing a longer-term trend dating back more than a decade, the number of births in the United States fell 4% in 2020, pushing the birth rate to its lowest point on record. Experts attribute falling birth rates to the rising average age of mothers as people married and had children later in life. A growing body of evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have deterred many potential parents from starting families.
As has been the case since 2007, the birth rate in the United States is well below what is known as the “replacement level of fertility”, the birth rate that a country must maintain to maintain levels stable populations without immigration. This could turn out to be a problem. Although it is difficult to predict the consequences with certainty, an aging and shrinking population could slow economic growth, strain public funding and lead to labor shortages.
In Ohio, the birth rate is in line with the national average. There were 10.9 births per 1,000 people in the state between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, compared to 10.8 per 1,000 nationwide, according to the Population Estimates Program and US Census Bureau housing units. Ohio’s birth rate ranks 22nd among the states.
Births have not exceeded deaths in Ohio in the last year of available data. Excluding net migration — the number of people who moved to or from the state — Ohio’s population contracted 0.13% in the 12 months ending July 2021.