Oct 12, 2023 - News

Arizona has second-biggest birth rate drop in U.S.

Change in birth rates, 2007 to 2022
Data: CDC; Map: Axios Visuals

The national birth rate fell substantially between 2007 and 2022, and in almost no state did it decrease as much as in Arizona.

Driving the news: Arizona's birth rate in that period dropped 36.1%, second only to Utah's 36.2%, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Zoom in: In 2022, Arizona had 10.67 births per 1,000 people, the 20th lowest of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • We had 16.7 births per 1,000 in 2007, which was the third highest rate in the U.S.
  • Nationally, there were 14.33 births per 1,000 people in 2007 compared to 11.05 last year.
  • Arizona's birth rate dipped below the national rate in 2016.

Why it matters: The birth rate is a closely watched figure for myriad reasons.

  • It tends to fall as income rises, meaning lower birth rates can be a reflection of greater prosperity at both the national and individual levels. (Many factors drive this, including a sense among wealthier people that they need fewer children to support them financially as they age.)
  • Yet 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.
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

The intrigue: In the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the national birth rate steadily declined year over year (except for a slight bump in 2014).

  • While it dropped from 11.4 in 2019 to 11.0 in 2020, it remained flat in 2021 — and even ticked up slightly in 2022, to 11.1.

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

  • The overall population, however, decreased from 333.3 million to 331.9 million. Fewer people + relatively constant number of births = larger birth rate.
  • Ultimately, the COVID-era leveling-off and the 2022 uptick in birth rates may only be a "short-term deviation from an ongoing trend of considerably greater importance," as a Brookings Institution report put it.
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