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Oregon's Fertility Rate Drops to Second-Lowest in US

9:27 PM ยท Mar 15, 2023

In 2020, Oregon tied for the second lowest birthrate of all states in the US, at 1.39 total births per woman. The total fertility rate (TFR) is a measure of the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime based on current birth rates. The replacement rate is the Total Fertility Rate needed for a population to replace itself without migration, typically considered to be around 2.1 births per woman. It is important because if the TFR falls below the replacement rate, the population may start to decline over time, leading to an aging population, labor shortages, and potential economic and social challenges. So it's very concerning to see the population of Oregon declined in 2022 for the first time in decades. Deaths outnumbered births in Oregon by about 5,000 and overall Oregon lost approximately 16,000 people this past year. What are the top 5 states in terms of total fertility rate (TFR)? 1. South Dakota - 1.98 2. Nebraska - 1.94 3. North Dakota - 1.93 4. Utah - 1.92 5. Alaska - 1.89 What are the bottom 5 states in terms of total fertility rate (TFR)? 46. Rhode Island - 1.43 47. New Hampshire - 1.41 48. Massachusetts - 1.39 49. Oregon - 1.39 50. Vermont - 1.36 This trend will likely have wide ranging implications in the decades ahead. Oregon state economist Josh Lehner commented recently on these implications. On the labor force: "Already we are seeing the demographic impacts in the labor force where we know retirements have increased as the Baby Boomers are now mostly in their 60s and increasingly their 70s, and the younger generations are smaller in places like Oregon where we have been below the replacement rate for decades." On businesses: "For businesses it will be hard to find workers for the foreseeable future given the labor market is structurally tight for demographic reasons." On schools: "Additionally, we are also seeing K-12 school enrollment declines, which given births have taken another step down even in the preliminary 2022 data, will certainly continue for years and possibly decades to come." ------------------------------------------ My takeaway thoughts: What are some ways we can create an environment in Douglas County that supports young people and helps them build the families they want? How can we work together as a community to create more opportunities for young families to afford housing and live in thriving neighborhoods? What regulations might need to change? How do we create more housing that young families can afford? In my opinion this is a significant issue and we would be wise to do whatever we can to improve the situation locally.