Statewide birthrate declining, numbers show

MEDFORD, Ore. — Preliminary numbers from the Oregon Health Authority show Oregon’s birthrate is the lowest in 25 years.

Financial situations and women having children later in life are some of the different reasons that may contribute to the decline, but local economist Guy Tauer said rates here in the Rogue Valley are higher than the state average and that’s because more people are moving to our region.

“We’re having more people move here,” Tauer said, “but at the same time our local birth rates are little bit higher than the state average, but still below that rate we would need to sustain our population if it wasn’t for people moving here.”

Local hospital numbers show the birthrate is declining here, too.

Numbers from Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center show rates decreasing since 2015.

But at Providence Medford Medical Center, moms may be bucking the trend.

“Just over the last two months we’ve actually seen an increase here,” said Providence BirthPlace Manager Jeralie Fairbanks. “We have heard that there’s going to be a reduction in births in the state of Oregon but that’s not the case here!”

The Providence BirthPlace gained 11 deliveries in both January and February in 2019 for a total of 22 more deliveries over the last year in the first two months.

“A lot of patients are just walking in the door progressing in labor,” Fairbanks said, “and it’s really exciting to be able to accommodate those patients in our community.”

In Jackson County, numbers show that mothers of all ages had more children in 2017 than they did in 2018.

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