New Tennessee birth data shows that despite the state’s growing population, births have remained relatively flat for the better part of the last ten years.
The state closed the decade with 80,450 live births in in 2019. This is the lowest birth total since 2013 and the second year that births declined. Data for births in 2020 will be available next fall.
The birth rate (11.78 births per 1,000 people in 2019) continued a sharp downward slide that began in 2008 and never recovered following the Great Recession. U.S. birth rates currently sit at historic lows.
A declining birth rate means that fewer children are being born relative to the state’s population. Several factors can influence this trend. First is a reduction in the proportion of females of child bearing age. In 2007, when birth rates were at their recent peak, females age 15 to 44 accounted for 20.6% of Tennessee’s population. By 2019, that number had fallen to 19.5%.
The second factor driving the falling birth rate are declining fertility rates – the number of births to females of child bearing age. Fertility peaked in 2007 at 68.2 births per 1,000 females age 15 to 44. The state’s fertility rate in 2019 was 60.3. Declining fertility females among under age 30 is the primary cause for the drop and resulted in the average age of a mother increasing from 26.22 in 2008 to 27.93 in 2019.
Data for this report was obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Division of Vital Statistics, Natality public-use data 1995-2019 and was accessed via the CDC WONDER Online Database.