More Deaths than Births in the US

According to vital records, death rates in the United States have increased significantly in recent years. In contrast, birth rates and overall life expectancy have decreased.

These imbalances now mean that US death rates surpass birth rates, and this gap continues to grow each year.

There are a number of reasons for these changes. One of the biggest causes is the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to affect both death and birth rates in different ways.

Increase in US Death Rates Pre-Pandemic

Annual death rates were already increasing before the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2009, the annual number of deaths in the United States has grown each year.

Within 10 years, from 2009 to 2019, the total number of deaths in the US increased from 2.4 million to 2.8 million.

The leading causes of death in 2019 were:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Drug overdoses

Lower Birth Rates in the US Pre-COVID-19

In direct contrast to the increase in death rates in the US, birth rates are steadily decreasing.

One reason for the drop in birth rates is the decision to not have children, which more and more US citizens are choosing to do.

Another reason for the lack of new births is health concerns. This may be a particular worry in the US due to the lack of free healthcare. Expectant parents must pay the costs or have insurance to give birth with medical assistance.

COVID-19 Impact on US Birth and Death Rates

Although the US’s population growth was already decreasing, the coronavirus pandemic has drastically accelerated this movement.

In the first year of the pandemic, US population growth dropped to its lowest level since the nation’s founding.

Increase in US death rates due to COVID-19

In 2020, COVID-19 became the US’s leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer: 1 out of 10 fatalities in the country were due to coronavirus.

The same year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowered its life expectancy estimate to 77 years, 1.8 years lower than in 2019. This marks the biggest change in the US life expectancy since World War II.

The country’s high fatality rate is largely due to low vaccination rates. Unvaccinated people count for the majority of hospitalized patients in the US.

Another factor contributing to high COVID-19 fatalities is the large number of US citizens who suffer from severe health problems. Conditions such as obesity and diabetes increase the risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Lower US birth rates since the pandemic

Coronavirus has also had a significant impact on the number of new births in the US.

Data collected by birth registrations shows that fewer US citizens are deciding to have children than in previous years. This trend started pre-pandemic but has grown considerably since COVID-19 hit the country.

One of the leading causes for this drop is the financial strain that the pandemic has had on families, particularly on women.

Health concerns are also a common reason why less people are choosing to have children during the pandemic.

Predictions for 2021 Death Statistics

Although the official statistics for birth and death rates in the US have not yet been released for 2021, current data suggests a drastic increase in death rates.

2020 recorded the most deaths in US history, but 2021 looks to surpass that record. Current information from the CDC suggests that the total number of COVID-19 related deaths will increase by at least 15,000.

In 2020, coronavirus was the leading cause of death, being responsible for around 351,000 deaths. Current figures for 2021 already show this data as 356,000, with the final number potentially reaching 370,000.

Birth certificates and death certificates are how the CDC collects its data on population growth. It is important for all US citizens to have a copy of their birth certificate as official proof of identification.

You can apply for a copy of your birth certificate quickly and easily online.