Negative population growth back in 1919 was largely the result of the Spanish flu pandemic
by Ronald Bailey
“In the United States, fewer births and more deaths reduced population growth to a 100-year low,” reports a new study by demographers at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). They add that “in nearly 46 percent of counties, more people died than were born last year.”
As I reported last year, the U.S. total fertility rate fell in 2018 to 1.73 births per woman, the lowest rate ever recorded. In general, the U.S. total fertility rate was been below replacement fertility—the level at which a given generation can exactly replace itself, usually defined as 2.1 births per woman—since 1971.
The UNH report notes that U.S. deaths rose to a record high of 2,835,000 last year, while the number of births reached 3,792,000, the fewest since 1986. As a result, the surplus of 957,000 births over deaths was the least in more than 50 years.