D.C.'s birth rate sees sharp decline over last 15 years
D.C.'s birth rate fell dramatically between 2007 and 2022, dropping from 15.4 births per 1,000 people to 12, according to new CDC data.
Why it matters: The birth rate is closely watched because it affects population figures and can give clues about the economy.
The big picture: The nationwide birth rate declined 23% between 2007 and 2022, dropping from 14.3 births per 1,000 people to 11.1.
- Maryland's birth rate declined 19.2%, while Virginia's dropped 21.6%.
Between the lines: Birth rates tend 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.)
Yes, but: The opposite can also be true, as people who feel they can't afford children choose not to have them.
- 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. (This is a particularly salient issue in Japan, which has among the world's oldest populations and where the birth rate fell to a record low last year.)
The intrigue: Census data shows the median household income dropped almost 4% in the D.C. region during the pandemic, but the share of residents earning more than $100,000 grew.
Of note: Lower birth rates can also be an indication of better access to contraception, family planning, and abortion care.
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