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Wisconsin’s birth rate hits new low

Mirroring a national trend, Wisconsin’s birth rate has fallen steadily over the past three decades. According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the number of babies delivered annually for every 1,000 people in the state is at its lowest point in at least a generation.

Annual births in Wisconsin peaked in 2007 at 72,757, but dropped rapidly afterward to 66,593 in 2016. That is just 103 births above a three-decade low set in 1997. The state’s fertility rate (births per 1,000 women aged 15-44) has declined as well over the past decade.

Over the past three decades, Wisconsin’s birth rate fell 22.3 percent, from 14.8 births per 1,000 residents in 1989 to 11.5 in 2016. The trend does not appear to be abating; Wisconsin’s birth rate has fallen in all but one year since 2007.

Wisconsin’s fertility rate has risen and fallen over the decades. That said, despite a slight increase since 2013, the fertility rate has been declining since 2007. In 2016, the state saw 61.6 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, down from 64.1 in 1989.

This information is a service of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education. 

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