Thirty-five states have fewer children than five years ago due to declining birth rates across the country and families moving to different areas to escape soaring house prices, according to new numbers.
California, Illinois and New Mexico saw the biggest decline, falling 6% between 2017 and 2022, according to a Status Line Analysis from the United States Census Bureau data.
High housing costs were reported to be a factor as families moved for a lower cost of living. This has led to a drop in school attendance and now school staff are facing the possibility of layoffs.
Fertility rates have been historically low since 2010. There were 15 states – including Idaho and North Dakota – that gained children into the population with the largest increase at 4%.
There are 35 states with fewer children than five years ago due to falling birth rates nationwide and families crossing state lines to escape rising house prices.
California, Illinois and New Mexico saw the biggest decline, falling 6% between 2017 and 2022, according to a Stateline analysis of US Census Bureau data.
Hans Johnson, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, wrote in a report in January that California’s fertility rate had fallen from 2.15 per woman in 2008 to 1.52 in 2020.
He also explained that more and more families are leaving the state for a lower cost of living, which is contributing to the declining number of children.
“People want to buy a house and have kids, but they realize they can’t do it here, so they look around, nearby states, and work remotely so they can keep their paychecks. in California,” Johnson said.
Along with California, Illinois and New Mexico, have also seen the lowest school enrollment in recent years since the pandemic.
Between 2012 and 2022, school enrollment in New Mexico declined by 22% at majority-Native Consolidated Central Schools in San Juan County, according to the report. This is compared to a statewide drop of 7%.
Central Consolidated School Board President Christina Aspaas told news outlets that a recent mine closure has forced many families to relocate to find jobs.
“Many Navajo workers who were employed had to move to Phoenix or elsewhere out of state to earn the same pay,” Aspaas said.
“It affected the local tribes, Hopi and Navajo, Diné. Seeing the impacts breaks my heart. They are all my children and they deserve the best in education and in life.
On the other side, states like Idaho, North Dakota, and Florida are seeing an increase in school enrollment in recent years.
Jaap Vos, a planning professor at the University of Idaho in Boise, moved from Florida to Idaho “while it was still in the middle of nowhere,” he said, adding that the he state has become known as a scenic and affordable place to raise children.
The state has also seen an influx of people emigrating from Northern California, Washington, and Utah.
“Maybe it’s for ideological reasons, people looking for a more conservative lifestyle,” Vos said.
Florida recorded the third highest increase in infant population between 2017 and 2022, at 2%, the data showed, citing Hispanic births.
The fertility rate of the United States (green) and the United Kingdom (orange) fell rapidly in the 1970s and, despite occasional small rebounds, continued its steady decline over the years.
The global fertility rate fell by 51% between 1970 and 2020, from 4.9 children per woman to just 2.3. If it falls below 2.1, the world’s population will begin to decline, experts warn. Birth rates have plummeted across much of the developed world, with only African nations remaining ahead
Stefan Rayer, director of the population program at the State Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said: “Unless births increase significantly, due to Florida’s aging population, the state will likely experience a natural decline for the foreseeable future, with all growth coming from migration.”
In 2020, the global average fertility rate – the average number of children born to each woman – was 2.3, down from 4.7 in 1970, a staggering 51% drop in half a century. Whole swaths of Europe and North America have fewer than two births per woman on average.
Meanwhile, as fertility rates decline in much of the world, they continue to rise in Africa. Thirty-one of the 32 countries with the highest fertility rates are on the continent, with Niger ranking first with a rate of 6.9 children per woman.
South Korea finds itself with the dubious honor of having the lowest fertility rate in the world, with each woman bearing 0.8 children on average. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the fertility rate in 2020 was 1.6.
Visual Capitalist’s chart collected data from the World Bank, an international development organization run by world governments dating from 1960 to 2020.
The downward trend in fertility rates in the developed world is the result of multiple factors.
Women have children much later in life because they prioritize careers.
Couples also settle and marry much later, reducing the biological window for women to have children. Declining fertility in men is also thought to play a role, linked to poor diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Fertility in the United States has fallen in recent decades (top). The average American woman has only 1.6 children left over her lifetime, well below the replacement level of 2.1. That’s down 15% from the rate of 1.9 in 2010. North Dakota, South Dakota and Alaska are the most fertile states in America, with more than 65 annual births per 1 000 women of reproductive age (center left). Fertility rates have fallen the most since 2005 in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and California (center right)
According to World Bank data, 106 countries have fertility rates below 2.1, a benchmark experts say is necessary for a country to maintain its current population. Three countries – South Korea, Hong Kong and Puerto Rico – have rates below 1.0.
Among the worst in the world are also Macau (fertility rate of 1.0), Singapore (1.1), Malta (1.1), Ukraine (1.2), Spain (1.2), Italy (1.2) and China (1.3).
All the world leaders in fertility rates are in Africa.
Somalia (6.4), Chad (6.4), Democratic Republic of Congo (6.2), Mali (6.0) and Central African Republic (6.0) constitute the top five countries in terms of of fertility rates, all of which have rates over 6.0.
The countries leading the world in fertility are generally poorer nations that score poorly on development indices, have lower sex education and access to contraception.