Washington | More people in Europe are dying than being born, according to a new study that found, in contrast, births exceed deaths by significant margins in the US.
The researchers found that 17 European nations have more people dying in them than are being born (natural decrease), including three of Europe’s more populous nations: Russia, Germany and Italy.
In contrast, in the US and in the state of Texas, births exceed deaths by a substantial margin. In 2013 in Texas, for example, there were over 387,000 births compared to just over 179,000 deaths, said Dudley Poston, Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University. The only two states in the US with more deaths than births are the coal mining state of West Virginia and the forest product state of Maine, said Poston.
The research focused on the prevalence and dynamics of natural decrease in the counties and county-equivalents of Europe and the US in the first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009). Findings show that 58 per cent of the 1,391 counties of Europe had more deaths than births compared to just 28 per cent of the 3,141 counties of the US.
In Texas, just 24 per cent of the state’s 254 counties had more deaths than births. And between 2010 and 2014, 27 per cent of the 254 counties had more deaths than births. The researchers, including Kenneth Johnson from the University of New Hampshire, and Layton Field, from Mount St Mary’s University, found that in Europe, deaths exceeded births in most of the counties of Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, as well as in Sweden and the Baltic States.
Further south, natural decrease is found occurring in the majority of the counties of Greece, Portugal and Italy. Though natural decrease was common in much of Europe, findings show that is far from universal. Natural increase (more births than deaths) is widespread in Ireland, Cyprus, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg.
Natural increase is also evident in broad regions of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and Norway. In the US, deaths exceed births most significantly in a north-sound band from the Dakotas through Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, down to central Texas, researchers said.
Poston and his colleagues noted that this natural decrease can be attributed to the predominance of agriculture and youth adult outmigration. Also natural decrease is found in retirement destinations in Florida, Arizona and Texas due to a substantial inflow of older adults.
Other states with higher death than birth rates include North Dakota, Montana, Maine and West Virginia; many other US states have little, if any, natural decrease. Natural decrease is much more common in Europe than in the US because its population is older, fertility rates are lower and there are fewer women of child-bearing age, Poston added.
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