Deaths Exceed Births in Record Number of U.S. Counties

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Johnson, Kenneth M.
Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire
Demography, Population, and Ecology
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article description
In this fact sheet, author Kenneth Johnson examines new data released by the Census Bureau which provide insights into the continuing influence of the Great Recession on U.S. demographic trends. He reports that, for the first time in U.S. history, deaths exceeded births in two entire states: Maine and West Virginia, and a record 36 percent of all U.S. counties experienced natural decrease in 2012. Natural decrease occurs when more deaths than births occur in an area in a given year. The growing incidence of natural decrease in America has gone largely unnoticed, but the new data demonstrate that natural decrease is no longer an isolated phenomenon.