After a sharp dip during the first year of the epidemic, which interrupted significant social and economic activities, the number of newborns in the United States increased for the first time since 2014.
According to provisional statistics issued Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics, the overall number of births increased to 3.66 million in 2021, up from 3.61 million the previous year. Last year’s 1% increase was a significant improvement from the 3.8 percent reduction in 2020, which had surpassed the average yearly fall of 2% from 2014 to 20.
The baby bulge is excellent news for the economy in the long run, as population increase is a fundamental component of long-term growth. However, birth rates in the United States remain significantly below historic highs and, more importantly, well below the replacement rate, implying that the country’s population can only expand through net immigration.
Last year, the fertility rate climbed to 1,663.5 births per 1,000 women, still significantly below the replacement rate of 2,100. Since 2007, births have regularly been below the replacement rate.
Last year, births among White women increased by 2%, while births among other racial groups decreased. In comparison to 2020, black women saw a 2% decrease in births, while Asians and American Indian or Alaska Native people had a 3% decrease. Hispanics of all races witnessed a 2% increase as well.
Last year, women in their late 30s had the greatest increase in birth rates, with a 5% increase from 2020.
Last year, birth rates fell in nine states and the District of Columbia. With nearly 1,200 fewer births, Illinois recorded the largest reduction. Alaska, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, and West Virginia all reported lower birth rates.
Last year, three states accounted for about 28% of all births in the United States: California, Texas, and Florida.