More than 73 percent (2,297) of U.S. counties experienced a “natural decrease” in 2021, up from 45.5 percent in 2019 and 55.5 percent in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2021 estimates of population and components of change.
A natural decrease in population happens when more deaths occur than births over a given period of time, in this case from July 2020 to July 2021.
Fewer births, an aging population, and increased mortality further exasperated by the pandemic also contributed to a hike in natural decrease, according to the Census Bureau.
The bureau’s data covered 3,143 counties, 384 metropolitan statistical areas, and 543 micropolitan statistical areas across the nation.
According to Axios, which cited the data, there were 535,000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019.
In 2021, all counties in Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island experienced more deaths than births, according to the data.