The U.S. recorded the most deaths in its history last year, while births fell to their lowest level since 1998, according to Ken Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire.
The Census could not confirm the “most ever” point, but did say the 2,540,928 deaths in 2013 were the most since at least 2000. Bloomberg was the first to report Johnson’s findings, which were emailed to reporters.
The population increase from natural causes (more births than deaths) sunk to a 35-year low of 1,412,000.
“The recession’s influence on migration may be waning, but it continues to have a negative impact on births,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson says a third of American counties are now seeing more deaths than births. The rate is nearly 40% among the nation’s rural counties.
The fertility rate for women 20-24 has declined at least 21% since 2007 to 83.1 births per 1,000.
“These data suggest that the impact of the recession has been particularly pronounced among younger women, who are likely delaying fertility,” Johnson said.