The US birthrate dropped four percent in 2020 compared to 2019, now putting the country “below replacement levels” meaning more Americans die annually than are born.

The US has experienced a two percent annual decline in the birthrate since 2014, but LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Dr. Robert Maupin said last year’s doubled rate of decline is likely COVID-related.

“In some respects because of concerns about health risks, being pregnant during the pandemic, and other instances due to the strain and stresses that families have experienced over the last year and a half,” said Maupin.

Maupin said the consistent year-to-year decline is also the result of advances in contraceptive access and options.

“We have a number of more progressive tools that are available which allow for families to consider spacing and delaying the intervals for their pregnancies where it is reversible but it is effective for a long period of time,” said Maupin.

The drop was biggest amongst women aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 34 at six percent and four percent respectively. Maupin said this is reflecting a cultural shift among young women.

“When you see a different trajectory in terms of professional pursuits that sometimes have a bearing on the times when someone chooses to start a family,” said Maupin.

The numbers come courtesy of the National Center for Health Statistics.

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