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.

 

RankStateBirths per 1,000 residents, July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021Total births, July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021
1Utah13.845,159
2Alaska12.79,280
3North Dakota12.69,798
4Texas12.4362,450
5South Dakota12.210,843
6Louisiana12.055,942
7Nebraska12.023,524
8Oklahoma11.947,125
9Mississippi11.834,957
10Arkansas11.635,021
11Idaho11.521,316
12Kansas11.533,670
13Indiana11.477,598
14Georgia11.3121,269
15Kentucky11.350,725
16Iowa11.235,771
17Alabama11.256,320
18Missouri11.268,818
19Tennessee11.277,353
20Minnesota11.163,065
21Hawaii11.015,904
22Ohio10.9128,595
23North Carolina10.9114,011
24Nevada10.933,883
25Maryland10.866,906
26Virginia10.893,037
27Wyoming10.86,213
28California10.7424,333
29South Carolina10.754,713
30Arizona10.776,497
31Washington10.581,193
32Colorado10.560,675
33New York10.5210,640
34Illinois10.4133,097
35Delaware10.410,311
36New Mexico10.421,996
37New Jersey10.395,254
38Wisconsin10.360,404
39Michigan10.2102,983
40Pennsylvania9.9128,351
41Florida9.7210,305
42Montana9.710,502
43West Virginia9.617,232
44Massachusetts9.466,197
45Oregon9.439,877
46Connecticut9.132,671
47Rhode Island8.99,717
48Maine8.311,291
49New Hampshire8.311,414
50Vermont7.95,057