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California's Birth Rate Declined 6.4% in June
Following Germany, Hungary, Taiwan, UK, and Sweden
This just in: this June of 2022, California live births dropped 6.4% compared to June of 2021. Here’s the chart of year-on-year change in live births, by month. It shows changes in live births for the same months spaced a year ago. For example, change in California live births, comparing June of 2021 to June of 2022, is a drop of -6.4%.
What is going on? Let’s explore.
Before I go further, I have to remind my readers: birth rates are always seasonal! Most parents prefer to make a “spring baby”, which often ends up with them making a “summer baby” because conception takes more time than expected. So, never compare adjacent months as they are guaranteed to have dramatic changes that are simply seasonality-driven, with differences very repeatable over the years. Only compare months of one year with the same month of another year, please.
Clearly, 2022 started out as a banner year in California, with January 2022 births increasing 7.88% compared to January of 2021. (remember the 2020 lockdown causing the 2021 drop, from which 2022 rebounded) However, you can see that after that, year-on-year birth rate change started declining, dropping by 14% from +7.88% to -6.4% decline in June. The California chart looks similar to the Germany chart. Both of those showed rapid decline in birth rates:
What caused this birth rate drop? We cannot, obviously, definitively answer that since it just began to happen. We can only examine clues, for now, and need to start paying close attention.
Astute readers may ask: since California is a heavily vaccinated state, how come their birth rate reductions in June were lesser in magnitude (6%) than for other similarly heavily vaccinated countries (10+%)? It is a very important question.
The answer may lie in California’s demographics. Whites in California comprise 36% of the population, but only give 28% of births. Hispanics represent 39% of the population, but give 46% of births in California. Thus, the birthrate among Hispanics is about 50% higher than among whites.
It is well known that the vaccine rollout was initially much more successful around whites and Asians, whereas black and Hispanic people were quite hesitant to get vaccinated in the beginning. Take a look at California vaccination rate by ethnicity for Aug 2021. You can see that on Aug 1 2021, whites 18-49 were 60.2% vaccinated, but Latinos of the same age were only 46% vaccinated. The blacks were only 41% vaccinated and they also have higher birth rates than whites. So, the higher-birth-giving ethnicities were much less vaccinated, likely even more so among younger women intending to get pregnant soon. That could explain why California, by Jun 2022, is seeing significant reductions in birth rates that are nevertheless somewhat lower than what we saw in, say, Sweden or Germany.
Please note, also, that strange drops in birth rates 9 months after vaccination campaigns, are extremely concerning, but are not in themselves proof of causality. My Hungary article, analyzing vaccination rate and birth rate changes among 20 counties of Hungary, provides something very close to the proof of causality — but California changes alone, as concerning as they are, are not yet conclusively proving that California is experiencing vaccination-driven decline in birth rate. It is merely a signal that needs to be looked at, in context of similar developments in other countries.
Is this Decline Temporary or Permanent?
We do not know, yet, if massive changes in birth rates will be permanent or temporary. My Hungary article has a section that discusses this. It is possible that the reduction is a mix of temporary and permanent effects. As the population of young people received further vaccine doses later, that could also effect birth rates.
California is not alone!
California is in a great company of North Dakota, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and Sweden. Take a look at my previous birth rate articles: