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5 U.S. States Where COVID-19 Slashed Birth Rates

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COVID-19 has reshaped the U.S. age distribution chart.

The pandemic has killed about 0.9% of Americans over age 65, and it has also led to a 4% drop in births between 2019 and 2020, to 3.6 million, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

That’s the biggest drop since 1973, when fear of overpopulation led many U.S. mothers to give up on the idea of having more than two children.

The National Numbers

The total number of babies born in the United States was 2% lower in the first half of 2020 than the first half of 2019. The number born in the second half fell to 1.8 million, down 6%, year over year.

U.S. communities began to lock down in response to COVID-19 in March 2020. The earliest full-term babies conceived after the lockdowns were already headline news were born in December 2020.

The total number of babies born in the United States was 8% lower in December 2020 than in December 2019.

Some demographers call  the people born after around 2010 members of Generation Alpha. The pandemic may make Generation Alpha smaller and less appealing to marketers than it would have otherwise been.

The State Numbers

Government analysts have also broken out half-year birth data by state.

In the second half of 2020, in eight states, the number of births was just 3% lower than in the second half of 2019. In the typical state, the number of births was 5% lower.

For a look at the five states with the biggest percentage drops in the number of births, see the slideshow above.

What the Numbers Mean

The sharp drop in the number of births could wipe out some life insurance sales this year, by reducing the number of young parents who want to protect babies against the risk of the loss of a parent.

In the future, as the 2020-2021 babies grow old enough to be prime prospects for disability insurance, life insurance, annuities and other products, insurers may notice a sudden, brief drop in sales for each of those products — because of the babies erased by the pandemic.

(Image: NIH)