When There Were More Deaths Than Births in the U.S.

Births have declined over the years, whereas number of deaths have gone up with the population. So the two counts over time have been getting closer to each other. The past couple of years of covid accelerated the process.

FROM 2003 TO 2021

LIFE VS. DEATH

YEAR

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

PEOPLE

Births tend to increase in summer months. Overall, birth rate and total births have decreased over the years.

Deaths surpassed births for four months from December 2020, peaking in January 2021.

400,000

LIVE BIRTHS

In April 2020, deaths surpassed births.

350,000

300,000

Despite the seasonal offsets of more births in summer and more deaths in winter, births outnumbered deaths significantly over the years. But the difference is getting smaller.

Came close in 2018.

250,000

200,000

Deaths tend to increase during the winter months. Overall, the mortality rate has decreased, but an increasing population means has still meant more total deaths.

DEATHS

150,000

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

YEAR

Data for 2021 is provisional with counts rounded to the nearest thousand.

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics

FROM 2003 TO 2021

LIFE VS. DEATH

PEOPLE

150k

200k

250k

300k

400k

350k

2003

DEATHS

LIVE

BIRTHS

2004

2005

Despite the seasonal offsets of more births in summer and more deaths in winter, births outnumbered deaths significantly over the years. But the difference is getting smaller.

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Births peak in the summer.

2011

2012

2013

Deaths peak in the winter.

2014

2015

2016

2017

Came close in 2018.

2018

2019

In April 2020, deaths surpassed births.

2020

*Data for 2021 is provisional.

2021

Deaths surpassed births for four months from December 2020, peaking in January 2021.

SOURCE: National Center

for Health Statistics

The chart above is a difference chart. Two time series lines are plotted, and the space between each line is filled with a color indicating which time series is greater. As you might have guessed, this highlights which metric is more during spans of time and by how much. Focus on the individual lines to read the patterns like a standard line chart.

Become a member. Support an independent site. Make great charts.

Join Now

Learn to Visualize Data See All →

How to Make a Spiral Chart in R

Using a spiral might not be the best way to encode data. But here’s how to do it anyway. Just in case.

Build Interactive Area Charts with Filters

When you have several time series over many categories, it can be useful to show them separately rather than put it all in one graph. This is one way to do it interactively with categorical filters.

How to Make Print-ready Graphics in R, with ggplot2

You don’t have to use illustration software to polish your graphics. If keeping everything in R is your thing, this tutorial is for you.

R Cheat Sheet and Guide for Graphical Parameters

You can customize graphics in R with par(), but the docs are mostly text and just organized alphabetically. Here is a more visual reference, categorized by what you can change. Plus, a one-page printout.