Oct 16, 2023 - News

Iowa's birth rate on a downward trend

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Iowa's birth rate fell more than 16% from 2007 to 2022, from 13.63 births per 1,000 people to 11.41, according to new CDC data.

Why it matters: Birth rates can reflect greater prosperity or poverty.

Context: The nationwide birth rate declined 23% from 14.3 births per 1,000 people in 2007 to 11.1 last year.

  • The change in percent of Iowa's birth rate during that time declined less than all other states except North Dakota and Pennsylvania, which decreased 9.3% and 16.3% respectively.

The intrigue: The national birth rate was steadily declining year over year before the pandemic, except for a slight bump in 2014.

  • It dropped in 2020, remained flat in 2021 and even ticked up slightly in 2022.

Yes, but: The number of births nationwide increased slightly between 2021 and 2022, from 3.66 million to 3.67 million.

  • The overall population, however, fell from 333.3 million to 331.9 million, as fewer people combined with a relatively constant number of births results in a greater birth rate.
  • Ultimately, stabilization from the pandemic and the 2022 uptick in birth rates may only be a "short-term deviation from an ongoing trend of considerably greater importance," a Brookings Institution report states.

The bottom line: It'll take a few more years before the pandemic's impact on birth rates is fully understood.

  • Meanwhile, it seems likely the overall rate will resume its downward trend as post-pandemic normality continues to return.
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