Nov 21, 2023 - News

Ohio's birth rate keeps declining

Data: CDC. Chart: Axios Visuals

Ohio's plunging birth rate dipped below the national average last year for the first time since 2018, new CDC data shows.

Why it matters: A country's birth rate generally tends to fall as incomes rise, meaning lower rates can be a reflection of greater prosperity.

The opposite can also be true, however, as people who feel they can't afford children choose not to have them.

  • Other factors include the number of women in the workforce and better access to contraception, family planning, and abortion care.

The big picture: The U.S. birth rate dropped nearly 23% between 2007-2022, from 14.3 births per 1,000 people to 11.1, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

The intrigue: The birth rate leveled off nationally during the pandemic, and then increased slightly in 2022 — but that's not the case for Ohio.

  • Here, it fell by nearly 16% from 2007-2021, from just over 13 births per 1,000 people to 11.
  • Then it dipped another 1%, to just under 11 births per 1,000 people in 2022.

Yes, but: The nationwide uptick may only be a "short-term deviation from an ongoing trend of considerably greater importance," per a Brookings Institution report.

Zoom in: A recent report co-authored by Sarah Hayford, director of Ohio State's Institute for Population Research, notes that just because people aren't having as many children today doesn't mean they don't want to become parents.

What they found: U.S. women born between 1995-1999 wanted to have 2.1 children, on average, when they were in their early 20s — and women born between 1965-1969 at that same age wanted to have 2.2.

What they're saying: "People feel more worried about the future than they might have been several decades ago. They worry about the economy, child care, and whether they can afford to have children," Hayford said in a statement.

The bottom line: "It's hard to have children in the United States right now."

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