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Historical and Projected State and County Births, 1970-2022, with Actual and Projected Fertility Rates by Mother's Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2000-2022

November 2013


This report presents actual calendar year 1970-2012 births and projected 2013-2022 births for California and its 58 counties.  The report also includes births by mother’s age group and race/ethnicity for the state, 2000-2022.  These annually updated projections are used in the Department of Finance's kindergarten through twelfth grade public school enrollment projections.

State Overview

The number of state births are expected to increase each year over the ten-year projection period compared to the current (2012) level of births, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of California's female population is also projected to continue to gradually increase from historic low levels in 2011.  The state’s TFR remains at 1.91 in 2012 and is then projected to recover over the rest of the decade to 1.99 by 2022.  Hispanic fertility continues to fall, though at slowing rates, for the first years of the projection before slowly rising towards a long-run TFR of 2.2. 

While California women’s fertility rates are anticipated to be lower in the next few years, continued differences in the number of births and the fertility rates among race/ethnic groups, especially at younger ages, will be evident.  In general, births to women 30 and older will continue to increase, while births to younger women are projected to continue to decline.  California births to females 15-19 continue to decline year over year slightly faster than the similar national cohort.   


Sources: The California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Statistics and Informatics, Vital Statistics Unit provided calendar year birth data for 1990-2012.

Denominators for race/ethnic rates were derived from the distributions of female populations aged 15-44 by race/ethnicity from the Baseline 2011 Population Projection series.  Three years of births by county were used to derive initial 2013 county birth proportions. 2022 county birth proportions from the Baseline11 population projections published by the Demographic Research Unit in January 2013 were partially used to adjust those current county birth proportions to 2022.  Both sets of proportions were used in a year-to-year change model carried through to 2022 to apportion the yearly projected statewide births.

Cases with Unknown mother’s age or race/ethnicity were recoded to those of the median age or most frequent race/ethnicity per county.

Rounding: Independent rounding may prevent the sum of selected data components from exactly matching the total.


Births, as referred to here, are unduplicated live birth counts occurring within the state of California (This excludes ~1800 births to CA residents outside the state). In this report, ethnicity refers exclusively to those of Hispanic or Latino Origin. No other ethnic groups are identified in the report.

Race as used here is a classification variable with 6 categories as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for the display of government data. As defined for use on California birth certificates, in the US Census as well as in other government documents, these official 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 mother's age as reported on live birth certificates and assumed to be age at last birthday. Ages are processed in total years and, for analysis purposes, are put into 5-year age groups for ages 15-44. Mothers older or younger than the limits of this range are put into the oldest or youngest 5-year age group within the range. Reported race of mother is used to classify births. No adjustments to the data have been made to account for any data anomalies which may result 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 2000-2012 using California birth data.  From these historical rates, trends were derived for 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 separately projected female population. 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, 1970-2022, with Actual and Projected Fertility Rates by Mother’s Age and Race/Ethnicity, 2000-2022.  Sacramento, California: November 2013.