Babies: The birth rate in the US went up last year

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The birth rate in the US rose last year, for the first time since 2014, with more than 3.65 million babies born in America in 2021 according to preliminary data from the CDC. That's up around 1% on the previous year, and reverses a seven-year trend of falling births.

The rise in births means that, despite a marked increase in total deaths from COVID in the last two years, the US population naturally grew by around 198,000 people in 2021. That's the lowest margin between the two that we could find data for (thanks WSJ for the inspiration for this chart).

Baby boom?

Although a 1% rise is significant, it's not exactly the "baby boom" that some had joked about during the early days of the pandemic. The total fertility rate - which estimates the average number of babies a woman would have over a typical lifetime - was 1.66, below the widely-accepted figure of 2.1 that would keep a population in a steady state over multiple generations (not growing or declining).

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