- The death rate in Alabama surpassed the birth rate for the first time last year, the state’s top doctor said.
- The state recorded its highest death toll of all time, according to records dating back to 1900.
- A study conducted at the University of New Hampshire found 50 US states last year recorded more deaths than births compared to just five states the year prior.
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The death rate in Alabama in 2020 was the highest ever recorded and for the first time surpassed the state’s birth rate, the state’s top doctor said, citing data dating back to 1900.
“This past year, for Alabama, the year 2020… we are going to have more deaths in the state of Alabama than we have ever had in the history of the state of Alabama, by a lot,” Alabama Health Director Scott Harris told AL.com.
Harris said Friday preliminary numbers showed Alabama had 64,714 deaths in 2020 compared to 57,641 births.
About 375,000 people in the US died last year due to COVID-19, according to preliminary data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in April. COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the US in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer, according to the data.
“We’re going to have around six or seven thousand more people who died in our state this past year than any year we have ever had, going back to the year 1900. That’s how far I’ve asked our staff to go back,” he added.
He said the additional deaths were due to the pandemic, with about 6,000 to 7,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the state last year, which match the additional deaths recorded in the state, per AL.com
A study conducted at the University of New Hampshire found that 50 US states last year recorded more deaths than births compared to just five states the year prior. The birth rate in the US shrunk last year for the sixth year in a row, according to CDC data.
“Our state literally shrunk this year for the first time in history, even going back to World War II, when people were serving overseas; going back to the Spanish Flu epidemic, when we had the flu in our state; going back to World War I. We’ve never seen that happen before in the state of Alabama until COVID this past year,” Harris said, according to AL.com.
According to the University of New Hampshire study, the “surplus of births over deaths added just 229,000 to the population” in the US last year, a 74% decline from 2019 data.
According to data released by the National Vital Statistics System in June this year, the birth rate in the US in December 2020 was 8% lower than in December 2019. The number of births declined each month last year compared to the same months in 2019, according to the data, with the largest declines occurring in the second half of the year.
According to CDC data, around 1.9 million – about 41% – people in Alabama have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 55% of the total US population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC.