The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the latest statistics on birth in the United States, and one thing is clear: The people of Utah are having a lot of babies.
In raw numbers, of course, the most babies are born each year in the most populous states: California, Texas, New York, and Florida. But when adjusted by population, the rate of births is the highest in Utah, with 17.6 births per 1,000 people — significantly higher than the national rate of 12.5.
The majority of Utah residents are Mormon, and their church has declared “that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” That might be part of the reason that, according to the Census Bureau, Utah has the largest average household size in the country and the highest rate of households that are a husband and wife with at least one child.
But that might not be the primary reason for the state’s high birth rate.
Utah also has the lowest median age in the country (29.2), and as economist Pam Perlich pointed out to The Salt Lake Tribune, “birth rates are higher when you have a lot of young people, because they are the ones who have babies.”
While the age explanation squares with much of the birth rate data, it’s impossible to determine cause-and-effect, and there are undoubtedly many factors involved.
Alaska has the second-highest birth rate, with 15.5 births per 1,000 people, while New England has the lowest birth rates in the country, ranging from 9.4 in New Hampshire to 10.7 in Massachusetts.
We used the CDC data to put together this interactive map of how the birth rate varies throughout the country:
Here’s the full list of states (plus D.C.), ordered by birth rate: