PORTLAND, Maine - The U.S. Census Bureau reported that four states had more deaths than births between 2018 and 2019.
West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont all saw the trend, called natural decrease, the agency said in a release.
West Virginia had a natural decrease of 4,679 more deaths than births, Maine had 2,262, New Hampshire had 121 and Vermont had 53.
FILE: Dr. Steven Dillingham, United States Census Bureau Director, speaks about the upcoming Census 2020 at the National Press Club on April 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. From June 2020 through July 2020 census takers will go door-to-door to count peop
Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia also saw increases in their number of deaths compared to the previous year, according to the bureau.
Forty-two states and the District of Columbia had fewer births in 2019 than 2018.
Alternately, the natural increase (or births minus deaths) was 956,674 between 2018 and 2019, reflecting 3,791,712 births and 2,835,038 deaths.
With fewer births in recent years and the number of deaths increasing, natural increase has steadily declined over the past decade, the agency said.
“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,” she said.
The nation’s population was 328,239,523 in 2019, growing by 0.5 percent between 2018 and 2019, or 1,552,022 people, the bureau said.
Annual growth peaked at 0.73 percent this decade in the period between 2014 and 2015, but the growth between 2018 and 2019 is a continuation of a multiyear slowdown since that period, according to the agency.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.