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73% of US counties had more deaths than births in 2021: Census report

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Driven by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, some 73% of U.S. counties registered more deaths than births in 2021 and states in the Northeast experienced the most widespread natural decrease in population, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The data show that between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, half of all states, including seven of the nine states in the Northeast, had more deaths than births, while only three of the 13 states in the West had more deaths than births.

Only 33% of states in the Midwest calculated more deaths than births for that period, while in the South, some 65% of states registered more deaths than births.

Estimates provided by the U.S. Census Bureau are based on final data from the National Center for Health Statistics as well as supplemental data from the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates.

The impact of the pandemic on the U.S. population has been quite stark, according to researchers who show that between 2011 and 2020, the highest number of states to register an annual natural decrease in population was eight. Only Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia registered recurring natural decrease in the previous decade, and the populations of those states were older on average.

While many states experienced more deaths than births in 2021, some states like Arizona and New York experienced an increase in population due to the number of births in certain areas. Births in the five boroughs of New York City, for example, were enough to offset the decrease in population in other parts of the state. Arizona’s increase was also driven by Maricopa County which saw an increase of 8,042 people.

“Some states experienced the same direction of change as their large counties. In others, natural increase occurred in larger counties but not enough to counteract declines in other counties,” said Sandra Johnson, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Division’s Population Evaluation, Analysis, and Projections Branch and Shannon Sabo a statistician.

In December 2020, a Brookings Institution report projected that the COVID-19 pandemic would result in at least 300,000 fewer births in 2021. A few weeks later, data gathered by NBCLX also confirmed the decline would be significant.

“This is a bad situation,” Philip Cohen, a sociologist and demographer at the University of Maryland, told NBCLX. “The declines we're seeing now are … pretty substantial.”

Cohen’s research showed declines in Google searches for pregnancy and sex-related topics and predicted the decline would likely last for months due to the economic uncertainty and other factors fueled by the pandemic.

Provisional data cited by the U.S. Census Bureau show that trend to be on track as births declined between 2020 and 2021 in all states.

"All states other than Hawaii and West Virginia had more counties with natural decrease in 2021 than in 2020, and a handful of states in the South and Northeast regions (Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) had natural decrease in all counties," the report added. 

It was noted by researchers, however, that births in most states had been declining since 2016.

“Between 2020 and 2021, all states experienced a drop in births,” the researchers said. “For most states, that one-year slide was larger than any that occurred in the previous decade.”

Contact: leonardo.blair@christianpost.com Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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