Oct 12, 2023 - News

Washington's birth rate has fallen 22% since 2007

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Washington state's birth rate fell dramatically between 2007 and 2022, mirroring a national trend.

Driving the news: The state's rate dropped from 13.77 births per 1,000 people to 10.70 — a decline of more than 22%.

  • In King County, the birth rate dropped by a similar percentage from 2011 to 2022, according to the state health department.

The big picture: From 2007 to 2022, the national birth rate declined from 14.3 births per 1,000 people to 11.1, Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report based on new CDC data. That's a nearly 23% drop.

  • It fell particularly far in parts of the West and Southwest, with the greatest drop-offs in Utah (–36.2%), Arizona (–36.1%) and Nevada (–34.0%).

Why it matters: Birth rates tend to fall as income rises, meaning lower birth rates can reflect greater prosperity at the national and individual levels.

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

Plus: Lower birth rates can also indicate better access to contraception, family planning and abortion care.

  • They tend to be lower in societies with higher rates of women in the workforce, though that relationship is becoming increasingly complicated. (It doesn't hold up as well in places with stronger parental leave laws, for example.)

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


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