In 2017, the country’s total fertility rate was the lowest it’s been in decades.
As the U.S. population ages and the country’s number of births continues to fall, just two states in 2017 met a fertility benchmark that’s considered the level needed for a population to replace itself, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Across the U.S., the total fertility rate was 1,765.5 births per 1,000 women, CDC data show, That marks the lowest rate since 1978 and holds potential implications for the economy and public policy, yet may also point to success in areas like access to contraception and a falling teen birth rate.
Total fertility rate is a measure of the expected number of lifetime births per 1,000 women, given current birth rates.The CDC says a rate of 2,100 is “considered necessary to replace a population over time.” In 2017, South Dakota and Utah were the only states above that level.
Nationally, total fertility rates were highest among Hispanic women, with a rate of 2,006.5, followed by 1,824.5 among black women and 1,666.5 among whites. In a sign of the nation's shifting racial demographics, no state had a total fertility rate at or above replacement level for white women. Twelve states hit the mark for black women, and 29 did so for Hispanic women, who may be of any race.
The total fertility rate for white women was highest in Utah and lowest in the District of Columbia, while the rate for black women was highest in Maine and lowest in Wyoming. Among Hispanic women, the rate was highest in Alabama and lowest in Vermont.
These are the states with the highest total fertility rates in 2017, according to the CDC.