NH leads the nation in growth in births

Jan. 31—The stork likes to visit New Hampshire.

New Hampshire not only led the nation in the percentage gain of babies born in 2021 compared with 2016, but the state also led the baby boom during the pandemic, according to research released Tuesday.

"From 2020 to 2021, right after the height of the pandemic, New Hampshire also had the biggest increase" with 7% more births in 2021, said Nick VinZant, senior research analyst at QuoteWizard by LendingTree.

"I think people were in the house and ran out of other things to do," he said in a phone interview from Seattle.

But a subsequent baby bust already may have happened.

For the first nine months of 2022, New Hampshire recorded a 4.75% drop in births compared with the same timeframe in 2021, according to Ken Johnson, senior demographer with the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

"Many will welcome the news that New Hampshire had even a modest increase in births, given widespread concerns about the aging of the state's population and the fact that deaths have exceeded births in the state in each of the last five years," Johnson said by email Tuesday. "However, this was a modest gain in births."

New Hampshire recorded 12,267 births in 2016 and 12,625 in 2021, a 3% increase. Tennessee was the only other state to have more births in 2021 than five years earlier. The U.S. average dropped 7% between those years.

Johnson also pointed out that New Hampshire's fertility rate in 2021 was 11% lower than the country as a whole. Only Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia had lower fertility rates, which generally is calculated by the number of births as a percentage of the number of women of childbearing age (15-44).

Many living in New Hampshire weren't born here.

In fact, only 4 in 10 residents were — the fourth-lowest percentage of any state, Johnson said.

Since 2017, New Hampshire has recorded more deaths than births annually, he said.

For the year ending July 2022, deaths exceeded births by about 2,000. That was offset by a net gain of 10,200 newcomers, both from outside and inside the United States.

Overall, the state grew by 7,700, to 1,395,000 residents, Johnson said, citing U.S. Census data.

QuoteWizard analyzed provisional birth figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VinZant dug into his numbers to show New Hampshire recorded a 7% increase from 2020 to 2021.

CDC numbers show over 800 more births in 2021 compared with 2020.

Nationwide, births bottomed out during the pandemic's first year.

"In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, fewer children were born than at any point in the last 36 years," VinZant wrote in explaining his findings.

"However, in 2021, births went back up. We found that childbirth rates increased by nearly 2% between 2020 and 2021," he said