Birth rates rose in 2021 after reaching historic lows during COVID-19 pandemic: CDC


Birth rates increased among women ages 25 and up and those in their mid-to-late 30s during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic as data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a bucking of the historic decline.

Data released on Jan. 31 by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics show there were 3.7 million births in the U.S. in 2021, up by 1% since 2020. Birth rates for women ages 25 to 44 went from 2% in 2020 to 5% in 2021. 

The birth rate for women ages 25 to 29 rose 2% to 93.0 per 1,000 women. The age group has seen birth rate declines for all but one year from 2007 to 2020. Women ages 30 to 34 recorded 97.6 births per 1,000 women, a 3% increase from 2020. This reverses an annual decline from 2017 to 2020.

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"The 2021 rate for women aged 30–34 was higher than the rate for women aged 25–29 for the sixth consecutive year since reliable national records were available," the report reads. 

"The number of births to women aged 30–34 rose 4% from 2020 to 2021. The birth rate for women aged 35–39 was 53.7 births in 2021, up 5% from 2020." 

The number of births for women ages 35-39 rose 5% in 2021. The birth rate for women ages 40 to 44 was 12.0 births per 1,000 women in 2021, up from 2% in 2020. 

"The number of births to women in their early 40s rose 5% from 2020 to 2021," the CDC reported. "The birth rate for women aged 45–49 (includes births to women aged 50 and over) was 0.9 births in 2021, unchanged from 2020."

"The number of births to women aged 45 and over was essentially unchanged from 2020 to 2021," the report continued. 

The birth rate for females ages 15-19 — 13.9 births per 1,000 females — was down 7% from 2020 as the teen birth rate has fallen to record lows each year since 2009. The birth rate for women between 20 and 24 — 63.3 per 1,000 females — was down 3% from 2020, another record low. 

The data appears to be a reversal from 2020's birth and fertility rates in the United States, which showed some historic lows. 

As The Christian Post reported, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reported that the drop was likely due to pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic and other social factors. The CDC announced in a May 2021 Vital Statistics Rapid Release that the provisional number of births in the U.S. in 2020 was over 3.6 million, a 4% decline from 2019 and the lowest number of births since 1979.

The report also found that more people were dying than being born each year, noting that the U.S. fertility rate has been "below replacement since 1971 and has consistently been below replacement since 2007." 

The birth rates in 2020 fell by 6% for women ages 20 to 24 while falling by 4% for women 25 to 29, record lows for both demographics. The birth rates also fell by 4% and 2%, respectively, among women ages 30 to 34 and 35 to 39. 

W. Bradford Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies who directs the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told Catholic News Agency that delays in marriage, the prioritization of work and education, and many viewing marriage and parenthood as "anchors" were likely behind the decline in birth rates. 

The National Marriage Project director predicted that the country might be "on the cusp of a major demographic shift" or something similar to "a demographic earthquake."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follower her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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