Special Report

How Kentucky's Birth Rate Compares to the Nation

In the continuation of a longer-term trend stretching back over a decade, the number of births in the U.S. fell by 4% in 2020, pushing the birth rate to its lowest point on record. Experts attribute falling birth rates to the increase in the average age of mothers, as people have been marrying and having children later in life. A growing body of evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have deterred many would-be parents from starting families.

As it has been since 2007, the U.S. birth rate is well below what is referred to as “replacement-level fertility,” the birth rate a country must maintain to keep population levels stable without immigration. This could prove to be a problem. Though it is difficult to predict the implications with any degree of certainty, an aging and shrinking population could slow economic growth, strain government funding, and lead to worker shortages.

In Kentucky, the birth rate is higher than the national average. There were 11.3 births for every 1,000 people in the state between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 compared to 10.8 per 1,000 nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program. Kentucky’s birth rate ranks as the 15th highest among states.

Despite the higher than average birth rate, births did not outpace deaths in Kentucky in the most recent year of available data. Excluding net migration — the number of people who moved to or from the state — Kentucky’s population contracted by 0.14% over the 12 months ending in July 2021.

 

Rank State Births per 1,000 residents, July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 Total births, July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021
1 Utah 13.8 45,159
2 Alaska 12.7 9,280
3 North Dakota 12.6 9,798
4 Texas 12.4 362,450
5 South Dakota 12.2 10,843
6 Louisiana 12.0 55,942
7 Nebraska 12.0 23,524
8 Oklahoma 11.9 47,125
9 Mississippi 11.8 34,957
10 Arkansas 11.6 35,021
11 Idaho 11.5 21,316
12 Kansas 11.5 33,670
13 Indiana 11.4 77,598
14 Georgia 11.3 121,269
15 Kentucky 11.3 50,725
16 Iowa 11.2 35,771
17 Alabama 11.2 56,320
18 Missouri 11.2 68,818
19 Tennessee 11.2 77,353
20 Minnesota 11.1 63,065
21 Hawaii 11.0 15,904
22 Ohio 10.9 128,595
23 North Carolina 10.9 114,011
24 Nevada 10.9 33,883
25 Maryland 10.8 66,906
26 Virginia 10.8 93,037
27 Wyoming 10.8 6,213
28 California 10.7 424,333
29 South Carolina 10.7 54,713
30 Arizona 10.7 76,497
31 Washington 10.5 81,193
32 Colorado 10.5 60,675
33 New York 10.5 210,640
34 Illinois 10.4 133,097
35 Delaware 10.4 10,311
36 New Mexico 10.4 21,996
37 New Jersey 10.3 95,254
38 Wisconsin 10.3 60,404
39 Michigan 10.2 102,983
40 Pennsylvania 9.9 128,351
41 Florida 9.7 210,305
42 Montana 9.7 10,502
43 West Virginia 9.6 17,232
44 Massachusetts 9.4 66,197
45 Oregon 9.4 39,877
46 Connecticut 9.1 32,671
47 Rhode Island 8.9 9,717
48 Maine 8.3 11,291
49 New Hampshire 8.3 11,414
50 Vermont 7.9 5,057

 

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