Jan 15, 2023 - News

Why Charlotte’s baby boom is a “good sign” for the city

Atrium Health

Atrium Health

The number of babies being born across Charlotte continued to rise in 2022, suggesting that our recent baby boom is not slowing.

What’s happening: The number of deliveries at Charlotte’s biggest hospital systems has been rising for the last several years.

By the numbers: In 2022, there were 17,496 babies born across the Atrium Health system in the Charlotte region, a spokesperson told Axios. That’s up from 17,114 deliveries in 2021.

  • Novant saw 12,344 births across its system in 2022, per a hospital spokesperson. That’s up from 12,327 in 2021 — and from 4,523 in 2001.

Why it matters: A growing number of babies are being delivered in Charlotte at the same time young families continue to plant roots here. And as has been the case for a few years, recent birth trends in Charlotte stand in contrast to what’s happening nationally.

  • The fact that people are having children is a good sign for Charlotte, says Karen Guzzo, director of the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. It indicates that people feel stable here, that the job prospects are strong, and that Charlotte is a good place to raise a family, she adds.

“People having children is a sign of viability of an area and confidence in an area’s future,” Guzzo says.

The big picture: The U.S. birth rate has fallen sharply since 2007. As Axios’ Neil Irwin reported, declining birth rates nationally pose a threat to the U.S. economy if there aren’t enough people being born to produce goods and support programs like Social Security.

Between the lines: Experts have told Axios that women in Charlotte are waiting longer to have children, mirroring a national trend. The pandemic could also play a role in local couples’ decision to have babies now, too, given the flexibility of hybrid or remote work.

  • In metros like Charlotte, health care systems offer infertility treatments for couples who are trying to conceive. Often, large employers even help cover the cost of services like IVF and surrogacy.

Yes, but: Sometimes birth rates in urban areas like Charlotte are higher if couples from rural areas without hospitals or maternity care come to the city to give birth, Guzzo said.

Zoom out: North Carolina’ population grew by 133,088 people last year, representing the third largest number of net new residents of any state, recent census numbers show. A small part of this growth stems from the fact that the state had more births than deaths last year.

But overall, North Carolina’s fertility rates have mostly been declining since the late 2000s, according to Carolina Demography.

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