Alabama's Deaths Outpace Births for First Time in History

Lindsay Kalter

September 20, 2021

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For the first time in Alabama's known history, the state's deaths have outpaced its births — a bleak consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our state literally shrunk in 2020," Scott Harris, MD, Alabama's state health officer, said at a news conference. "It hasn't happened before, nor has it even been close before."

He said that according to available data, which dates back to the early 1900s, this phenomenon was not even seen during the flu pandemic of 1918, or Word War I or World War II.

There were 64,714 total deaths in the state last year, compared to 57,641 births, Harris said.

Only 40% of Alabama residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Harris pointed to the troubling statistic that 1 of 500 people in the US have died of COVID-19 — which he called a "staggering number" — and noted that although the US has less than 5% of the world's population, it accounts for more than 15% of deaths.

"We're continuing to have double-digit numbers of deaths reported on most days," he said.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are continuing to climb. According to federal data, the US saw more than 10,000 COVID-related deaths in 1 week. Some of the highest death tolls were seen in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The average US COVID-19 daily death toll surpassed 2000 this past weekend for the first time since March 1, according to a New York Times database.

Texas and Florida together account for more than 30% of those deaths.

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