Oregon Birth Rate: One Of The Lowest In The US And Still Declining

In nature, as new babies are born, people are dying, balancing out the population numbers, but the growth rates of countries are linked with the growth rates of their populations.

Newly released 2022 federal data in the National Vital Statistics (NVSS) report reveals that Oregon has one of the lowest birth rates in the US, but this is having knock-on effects further down the line.

According to demographers, fertility rates which exclude the effects of migration indicate that a 2.1 rate produces a stable population size.

See also: Rogue Valley Baby Boomers Will Retire Soon: County Should Up Their Game To Attract New Opportunities


Birth Rates Declining

The NVSS report indicates that the national average number of births recorded per 1,000 people is 11.0, and Utah led the field with 13.5. Oregon featured 4th last on the list with 9 births per 1,000 people, just ahead of Vermont with 8.2 in last place, behind New Hampshire and Vermont.

In line with trends in the US and many countries globally, Oregon’s birth rates have declined but have long been one of the nation’s lowest. A demographer with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, Kanhaiya Vaidya, said families are waiting longer to have children and choosing to have fewer children overall. He puts this down in part to women taking time to settle into careers, and also the cost of raising children.

The women in Oregon produced  3.2 children on average in the 1950s but now average 1.4 during their lifetimes, according to the latest state fertility rate estimates. Contraception has played a role, having long been reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies as birth control bills became widely available.

Vaidya points to another possible explanation- Oregon is an older state. As one of the oldest states demographically, Oregon’s people are an average of 17 months older than the median American, and older people are unlikely to have many more children or any at all. He said, “People want smaller families. It’s what they prefer.”


Consequences Of A Lower Population Growth Rate

A 2021 report by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis indicates that deaths already outnumber births in Oregon. In addition, in the years since the pandemic, more people have been moving out of the state than are moving in. This affects the state’s schools, restaurants, and factories which are likely to be emptier in the years ahead unless there’s a positive change to Oregon’s anemic migration levels or unless its birth rates increase dramatically. As Vaidya said, “We need people to work.”

Working-age people support child care and the elderly, not just financially but also with care. Fewer births may, in time, ease the state’s housing crunch and congested traffic, but a dwindling Oregon population could have serious economic and cultural implications for future generations.

See also: Ashland School Board Reducing Classified Staff And Athletics Director To Accommodate Budget Cuts of At Least $1.3 Million


Some economists expect a modest rebound in migration into Oregon, but if migration doesn’t bounce back, the state could feel the effects of declining birth rates in many ways.

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