From Ken Johnson, UNH professor and demographer extraordinaire:

In 2020, 15,600 more people died than were born in New England. This is the first time that deaths have exceeded births in the region. A record 154,000 deaths occurred in New England, due partly to COVID-19 – 14.5 percent more than in 2019. Births diminished by 2.8 percent to 138,400 between 2019 and 2020. Deaths exceeded births in every state in New England in 2020. They also exceeded births in 2019 in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

Historically, few states have ever had more deaths than births. In 2019, deaths exceeded births in a record 5 states. COVID changed this and in 2020, 25 states had more deaths than births.

COVID is not the only factor contributing to the excess of deaths over births in New England. The populations of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are among the oldest in the U.S. This means more people at high risk of mortality and fewer of childbearing age.

New England’s population can only grow if more people move into the region than leave it. How large or protracted these mortality increases, and fertility declines will be remains to be seen, but they have already reduced population growth in New England over the last year.

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