Historical and Projected State and County Births, 1970-2023, with Actual and Projected Fertility Rates by Mother's Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2000-2023

December 2014


This report presents actual calendar year 1970-2013 births and projected 2014-2023 births for California and its 58 counties. The report also includes births by mother’s age group and race/ethnicity for the state, 2000-2023. These annually updated projections are used in the Department of Finance's kindergarten through twelfth grade public school enrollment projections.

State Overview

As the number of births in California are expected to increase each year over the ten-year projection period compared to the current (2013) level of births, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of the California female population is projected to continue its gradual, slow increase through 2023. The state’s TFR is projected to remain at 1.87 in 2014 from 1.87 in 2013 and is then projected to rise to 1.90 by 2023.

Age And Race/Ethnicity

While California women’s fertility rates are anticipated to be lower than average in the next few years, continued differences will be evident in the number of births and the fertility rates among race/ethnic groups, especially for mothers at younger ages. In general, births to women 30 and older will continue to increase, while births to younger women are projected to continue to decline, particularly among mothers under age 24.
Sources: The California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Statistics and Informatics, Vital Statistics Unit provided calendar year birth data for 1990-2013.

Denominators for race/ethnic rates were derived from the distributions of female populations aged 15-44 by race/ethnicity from the Baseline 2013 Population Projection series. Three years of births by county were used to derive initial 2014 county birth proportions. The 2023 county birth proportions from the Baseline 2013 population projections published by the Demographic Research Unit in December 2014 were used to adjust the current county birth proportions to 2023. Both sets of proportions were used to apportion the annual projected statewide births in a year-to-year change model carried through to 2023.
Rounding: Independent rounding may prevent the sum of selected data components from exactly matching the total.

Terms: In this report, births are defined as unduplicated live birth counts occurring within the State of California. This excludes ~1,800 births to California residents outside the state. Ethnicity refers exclusively to those of Hispanic or Latino Origin. No other ethnic groups are identified. Race is a classification variable with six categories as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for the display of government data used on California birth certificates, in the U.S. Census, as well as in other government documents. These six official race categories are: (1) American Indian/Alaska Native; (2) Asian; (3) Black; (4) Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander; (5) White; and (6) More than one race. In this report, terms used for these groups are American Indian; Asian; Black; Pacific Islander; White; and Multirace.

Age is defined as the mother's age as reported on live birth certificates and is assumed to be her age at last birthday. Ages are processed in total years and are put into 5-year age groups for ages 15-44. Mothers older or younger than the limits of this age range are put into the oldest or youngest 5-year age group within the range. The reported race of the mother is used to classify births. No adjustments to the data have been made to account for any data anomalies that may have resulted from differences in the use of race categories by respondents when reporting races of mothers and children on birth certificates.
Measures: The fertility rates presented here and defined below are calculated as the number of events per 1,000 population or subpopulation that have occurred or will occur to California residents and its counties during given years. In this report we have calculated the period (in this case, annual) measures.

Age-Specific Fertility Rate:  
Number of live births to women in a given 5-yr age group 
X   1,000
Estimated female population in that 5-yr age group

Total Fertility Rate:

Sum of each ASFR multiplied by 5, result divided by 1,000 (This is the average number of children per woman the current group of mothers would bear if they had children at the given age-specific rates over their entire reproductive lives.)

General Fertility Rate: 
  Number of live births
 X   1,000
 Estimated female population aged 15-44


Age-specific, general and total period fertility rates were developed for 2000-2013 using actual California birth data. From these historical rates, trends were derived for the six age groups and seven race/ethnic groups of mothers. In general, recent fertility trends were used for the earlier years of the projection period, with longer term trends projected for the latter years of the period. Resulting fertility rates were then applied to the separately projected female populations. Statewide births were allocated to counties based on each county’s current and projected share of births.


This report was prepared by Walter Schwarm under the general direction of Bill Schooling, Chief, Demographic Research Unit.

Suggested Citation

State of California, Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit. Historical and Projected State and County Births, 1970-2023, with Actual and Projected Fertility Rates by Mother’s Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2000-2023. Sacramento, California: December 2014.


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Governor Brown
Finance Director Michael Cohen