BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — For the first time in 15 years, fewer babies were born in North Dakota in 2015 than the year before — a fact the state demographer attributes in part to a slowing economy due to depressed oil and crop prices.
Kevin Iverson, manager of the North Dakota census office, said he sees a clear correlation between economic woes and the birth rate.
“It could be the economy has created some uncertainty with people whether or not to have children,” he said.
The agency’s annual “North Dakota Fast Facts” released this month gives a snapshot of the state by tallying births, deaths, abortions, divorces, marriages, and other statistics, along with other interesting tidbits such as popular baby names and the oldest and youngest grooms and brides.
Here are some of the findings from 2015:
North Dakota’s population jumped from 740,400 in 2014 to 757,929 last year. Despite the population increase, there were fewer babies born in 2015. Data show there were 11,265 live births last year, down from 11,352 in 2014
The decline followed triple-digit increases in births over the past few years that mirrored increased oil production in the state’s oil patch.
Births to teenagers dropped from 570 in 2014 to 518 last year. Births to unmarried women also declined during those years from 3,675 to 3,552.
The oldest father was 63 in 2015 and the oldest mother was 49. The youngest father last year was 15 and the youngest mother was 12, data show.
The biggest baby born last year weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces.
Abortions fell last year to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1981. Health Department data showed 1,166 abortions, down a little less than 1 percent from 1,264 a year earlier.
The previous low was 1,182 in 2013.
Red River Women’s Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker said the drop mirrors nationwide trends and is due to more effective birth-control options and increased insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act. The Red River clinic in Fargo is the state’s only abortion provider.
Records show 6,051 people died in North Dakota last year, up from 6,036 in 2014
Cancer killed 1,280 North Dakotans in 2015, surpassing heart disease, which claimed 1,271 lives last year. Alzheimer’s disease, accidental deaths, chronic lung disease, strokes, diabetes and pneumonia round out the top eight cause-of-death categories.
There were 117 suicides in North Dakota last year, down from 133 in 2014.
The oldest man who died in North Dakota last year was 108. And the oldest woman who died in 2015 also was 108.
The day the most deaths occurred was August 27 (27).
MARRIAGES AND DIVORCES
Data show more people are getting married — and divorced — in North Dakota. Marriages increased by nine to 4,671 last year, and divorces jumped by 55 to 2,149.
The oldest groom was 91 and the oldest bride was 89. The youngest groom was 18 and the youngest bride was 16. The greatest difference in age between a bride and groom was 39 years.
The longest marriage ending in divorce was 58 years, while the shortest was 37 days.
There were 62 same-sex marriage licenses filed in North Dakota in 2015, the first year data was recorded.
Liam went on birth certificates for 60 baby boys in 2015, while Emma was the name given for 62 baby girls.
Emma has been the most popular name for baby girls in North Dakota since 2010. Liam has been the most popular for boys since 2012.
Oliver, Owen, Mason, and William round out the boys top five, while Ava, Olivia, Harper and Sophia are round out the top spots for girls.
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