There Were More Deaths Than Births In Alabama Last Year, A Grim First For The State

 1540455303 
1632225077
Babies

Jonathan Borba, Pexels

By Nell Clark, NPR

Updated September 21, 2021 at 6:23 AM ET

In 2020, for the first time in recorded history, more people died in Alabama than were born in the state.

“Our state literally shrunk,” Dr. Scott Harris, the states top health official, said at a press briefing last week.

The state saw some 64,714 total deaths last year, Harris said, compared with about 57,641 births. Those numbers are preliminary, and officials will confirm them toward the end of this year.

Alabama hasn’t hit such a milestone in more than 100 years, not even during World War II, Harris noted.

The coronavirus, which is spreading in Alabama as well as much of the country, is what’s behind those numbers.

The delta variant currently circulating is putting a strain on critical health care systems in Alabama, as the state currently doesn’t have enough ICU beds for those who need them.

Still, some politicians there continue to push back on vaccines. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined other GOP attorneys general last week in threatening to sue the White House over its recent vaccine mandate plans.

Some 41.3% of Alabama’s population is fully vaccinated, according to NPR’s tracker. Harris said at the briefing that the state “continues to do a pretty good job” in that regard. Nationally, 54.6% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

And the 2020 milestone may not be unique for long. Alabama could see higher deaths than births again in 2021 if the state continues on its current grim trajectory.


This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

News from WBHM will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.

 

COVID vaccines for young children could be approved soon. Are Gulf States prepared?

Kids between the ages of 5-11 years old might be able to get vaccinated in the near future. Here’s why it would be a game-changer for the Gulf States, and how they’re preparing for the shot’s rollout.

Birmingham takes part in Embrace Mothers guaranteed income pilot

Single-mother households represent about 60% of all Birmingham households with children, according to Mayor Randall Woodfin's office. The mothers involved in the program will receive $375 a month for a year.

Birmingham debuts new tech hub to help solve crime in real time

Birmingham leaders officially opened the city's Real Time Crime Center Tuesday, a project intended to give the Birmingham Police Department new technological tools to help resolve crime more quickly.

More Black families in Birmingham find freedom in homeschooling

The face of homeschooling is changing and diversifying. In just a year, the number of Black families has increased five-fold— and for more reasons than COVID-19. Several families told WBHM they see homeschooling as a way to protect their children from educational racism.

As southern workers quit in record number, restaurants struggle to meet demands

Wages have gone up as restaurants try to hold onto their staff amid a record number of people quitting their jobs in the U.S., especially in the South.

A missing Alabama woman’s body is found in a parked, unoccupied police van

Christina Nance had been missing since Sept. 25, her family says. Video footage from that day shows her entering the van, which was in a police parking lot. Her body was found 12 days later.

More Front Page Coverage