Births fall to lowest level since 1979

The number of births in the United States decreased by 4 percent from 2019 to 2020, marking the sixth consecutive year of decline and the lowest number since 1979, according to CDC data

Based on birth records processed, 3,605,201 babies were born in 2020. Birth rates declined for women of all ethnicities and all age groups from 15 to 44. They remain unchanged for adolescents aged 10 to 14 and women aged 45 to 49.

The overall cesarean delivery rate ticked upward in 2020 to 31.8 percent, up from 31.7 percent in 2019. 

The birth rate in 2021 will reflect an entire year when women could factor the public health and economic crises into their decisions about pregnancy, since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. Researchers from the Brookings Institute last summer forecasted that the number of births could fall by 300,000 to 500,000 in 2021. 

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