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January 3, 2020

Maine among four states where deaths outnumbered births in 2019


Courtesy / U.S. Census Bureau
The rate of deaths in the U.S. is catching up with the rate of births, the U.S. Census Bureau reported this week.


Maine joins West Virginia, New Hampshire and Vermont as the only states with more deaths than births last year.

It’s more bad news for the nation’s oldest state, by median age, at 44.9 years.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s national and state population estimates released this week, 24 states and the District of Columbia saw increases in their number of deaths compared to the previous year. Four states had more deaths than births — what the Census Bureau calls a natural decrease: West Virginia (-4,679), Maine (-2,262), New Hampshire (-121) and Vermont (-53).

“While natural increase is the biggest contributor to the U.S. population increase, it has been slowing over the last five years,” said Dr. Sandra Johnson, a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. “Natural increase, or when the number of births is greater than the number of deaths, dropped below 1 million in 2019 for the first time in decades.” 

The nation’s population was 328,239,523 in 2019, growing by 0.5% between 2018 and 2019, or 1.55 million people. Annual growth peaked at 0.73% this decade in the period between 2014 and 2015. The growth between 2018 and 2019 is a continuation of a multiyear slowdown since that period. 

States seeing the most growth were led by Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, South Carolina, Washington, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.  

Ten states lost population between 2018 and 2019: New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Connecticut, Mississippi,  Hawaii, New Jersey, Alaska and Vermont.
During 2020, the Census Bureau will release estimates of the 2019 population for counties, cities and towns, and metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, as well as national, state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

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