Kenneth M. Johnson

About Kenneth M. Johnson

Kenneth M. Johnson is senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy (formerly the Carsey Institute) and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. He is a nationally recognized expert on U.S. demographic trends. His research at Carsey examines national and regional population redistribution trends, rural and urban demographic change, the growing racial diversity of the U.S. population, and the relationship between demographic and environmental change.

When Deaths Exceed Births: Natural Decrease in Europe and the United States

Natural decrease occurs when deaths in an area exceed births. If such natural decrease is prolonged, there is a substantial risk of population loss. Seventeen European nations had more people dying than being born between 2000 and 2009, including several of Europe’s most populous countries. The United States, in contrast, has always seen births exceed deaths by a substantial margin. Our research focuses on the prevalence and dynamics of natural decrease in subareas of Europe and the United States in the first decade of the twenty-first century. We found that 58 percent of the 1,391 counties of Europe (NUTS3 units) had more deaths than births during that period compared to just 28 percent of the 3,137 U.S. counties. (See Figure 1)

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