The number of births in the United States declined again in 2020, with fertility rates dropping or staying flat across all age and racial groups. Falling from 3.75 million births in 2019 to 3.61 million births in 2020, the 4% drop marks the sixth consecutive year the U.S. birth rate has decreased, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In addition, the total fertility rate has been below replacement level of about 2.1 children per woman — the level at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without accounting for migration — since 1971.
Even so, the nation’s population continues to grow, climbing to about 330 million as of the middle of last year, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. population has been rising generally because of immigration and longer life expectancy.
The inexorable cycle of births and deaths is often very different from one generation to the next, and tends to change as people age. Some might wonder, how many people in a given age group are still around?
24/7 Tempo has determined how many people born each year since 1937 are alive today. We used data collected from government agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis to create the list.
Largely due to developments in medical technology such as treatments for cancer and heart disease, life expectancy rose significantly over the decades since 1930. The average person born in 1930 had an average life expectancy of 59.7 years; by 2012, the average life expectancy at birth had increased to 78.8 years. (Click here to see the most famous person the same age as you.)
More recently, however, due to sharp increases in opioid overdose deaths as well as to some extent high levels of COVID-19 deaths last year, life expectancy has declined in recent years. In the first half of 2020, life expectancy at birth for the U.S. population was 77.8 years, down from 78.8 years in 2019. (Here is the city with the longest life expectancy in every state.)
To identify how many people are still alive from the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed native-born population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. These estimates adjust for both naturalized citizens as well as native-born Americans living outside the United States. The share of people born each year since 1937 alive in 2021 was calculated by comparing these U.S. Census Bureau population projections to the number of births each year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Statistics of the United States report series. Total U.S. population figures in each year are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.