Editor’s note: This article is by Lou Varricchio, editor of the Sun. It is republished here with permission.
According to a new report, Vermont just experienced the largest birth declines from 2014 to 2019. But the Green Mountain State isn’t alone: it is joined by Wyoming and Alaska.
So, what’s behind the Green Mountain State’s birth-rate free fall?
According to financial reporter Lee Prindle, writing in “U.S. Birth Rates in Steady Decline. Here’s Where and Why” (posted on the LendingTree website QuoteWizard.com), “as unemployment increases by 1%, birth rates drop by 1%… Our research team analyzed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on birth rates in the U.S. In our report, we found a pattern: when the economy is down, the number of women giving birth declines.”
Between 2014 and 2019, Prindle found Vermont had a decrease of 12.5%, the third-largest decrease in the nation. The state has experienced an increased unemployment rate since early 2020 when the pandemic began.
Other findings also reported by Prindle:
- Over 40% of women reported changing their plans for parenthood due to COVID-19
- Wyoming, Alaska, and Vermont saw the largest birth decline from 2014 to 2019
- The national birth rate is decreasing 1% annually and has been doing so since 2014
- Eight states saw more than a 10% decline in births (Vermont had a decline of 12.5%)
- As unemployment increases by 1%, birth rates drop by 1%
“The financial, economic, and social stresses of the pandemic have many people less concerned with family planning and more concerned with making ends meet,” Prindle noted. “It’s still unclear when the pandemic will end, making it difficult for anyone to plan for the long term, but if past birth trends continue, we should see birth rates drop further in 2021.”