Oct 18, 2023 - News

Steep drop in Florida's birth rate

Data: CDC; Map: Axios Visuals
Data: CDC; Map: Axios Visuals

Florida's birth rate fell 22.5% between 2007 and 2022, from 13.02 births per 1,000 people to 10.09, Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report based on new CDC data.

The big picture: The nationwide birth rate dropped from 14.3 births per 1,000 people to 11.1, or nearly 23%, in the same timeframe.

Why it matters: Birth rates tend to fall as income rises, meaning lower birth rates can reflect greater prosperity. (Many factors drive this, including a sense among wealthier people that they need fewer children to support them financially as they age.)

  • The opposite can also be true, as people who feel they can't afford children choose not to have them.
  • Lower birth rates can also be an indication of better access to contraception, family planning and abortion care.
Change in birth rates, 2007 to 2022
Visuals, Data Graphics

Between the lines: Some fear that if the birth rate dips too low, it will bring about a crisis where there are too few young people to care for an aging populace.

  • That's in sharp contrast to "Malthusianism," the fear that overpopulation will result in too many people and too few resources.
  • While that theory — popular among many social scientists and policymakers in past decades, and which often underpins anti-immigration rhetoric — had faded somewhat, it's seeing a revival among some climate activists, who argue the planet can no longer support a growing human presence.

Of note: Births are only one side of the population coin; deaths and immigration/emigration also play key roles.

The intrigue: Before the pandemic, the birth rate was steadily declining year over year, outside of a slight bump in 2014.


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