Birth heat map by countries: Where are the baby boom capitals?

Phillip Portman

Apr 19, 2021

There’s nothing more special than the pitter-patter of little feet, but have you ever wondered just how many babies are born around the world? How about the ratio of boys born compared to girls?

We’ve analysed United Nations (UN) birth data between 2015 and 2020 to determine how many births occurred in the world’s 10 most populated countries for our birth map. We’ve also used UN birth sex ratio data for the same period to determine how many boys and girls were born.

To help us better understand birth patterns on a global scale, we’ve also analysed an additional eight well-known countries with smaller populations. In these countries, we’ve analysed data at a state, regional, or county level to see how many births occur in a year and the proportion of boys to girls. We also calculated this for the United States and Russia – two of the world’s most populated countries.

Please note: These are estimates based on UN data and may differ from actual numbers.

Heat map: Number of births and gender at birth 2015 – 2020

Number of births and age of mother 2015 - 2020

The population has been noted according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s 2020 data on world populations by country.1 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: The World Factbook Country Comparison :: Population – Accessed 06/08/2020

The number of births between 2015 – 2020 have been noted according to estimates from the United Nations Population Division: Department of Economic and Social Affairs Source.2 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: File FERT/1: Births (both sexes combined) by region, subregion and country, 1950-2100 (thousands) – Accessed 06/08/2020

The average age of mother at birth was determined using data from The World Bank3 (source: Health Nutrition and Population Statistics by Wealth Quintile) and Central Intelligence Agency4 (source: The World Factbook Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth) – Accessed 21/08/2020

Number of male and female births 2015 – 2020

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: File FERT/2: Sex ratio at birth by region, subregion and country, 1950-2100 (male births per female births)’ – Accessed 06/08/2020

Calculations were determined in relation to each country’s population, which has been noted according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s 2020 data on world populations by country.1 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: The World Factbook Country Comparison: Population – Accessed 06/08/2020

What’s happening on a state and regional area?

To better understand where births are happening within countries, we’ve analysed the number of births per state, region or county within 10 countries on our list. We’ve selected some of the most well-known countries around the world where this type of data was available. We’ve also calculated an estimate of how many boys and how many girls were born in each area.

Heat map: Canada’s 2018 births by province

Canada has 13 provinces and we’ve determined how many people were born in each of these areas in 2018, as well as the number of boys and girls born. Ontario came out on top with 140,785 births, while Nunavut recorded just 410.

The number of 2018 births per Canadian province has been determined using information from Statistics Canada.5 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Live births, by place of residence of mother – Accessed 06/08/2020
*indicates that the latest data available is from 2016.

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: File FERT/2: Sex ratio at birth by region, subregion and country, 1950-2100 (male births per female births)’ – Accessed 06/08/2020

 

Heat map: Ireland’s 2019 births by province

Ireland is one of the smallest countries on our list and consists of four major provinces. Leinster has the highest number of births, with 34,453 recorded in 2019. In contrast, 3,564 babies were born in Ulster.

The number of 2019 births per Irish province, as well as the number of male and female births, has been determined using information from Central Statistics Office Ireland.6 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Live births, by place of residence of mother – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

Heat map: Germany’s 2019 births by Federal State

Germany has 16 Federal States and, in 2019, the most babies were born in North Rhine-Westphalia with 170,391 births. Bremen recorded the lowest births of any Federal State, with 7,149 babies born.

The number of 2019 births per German Federal State, as well as the number of male and female births, has been determined using information from Statistisches Bundesamt.7 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Live births, by place of residence of mother – Accessed 18/08/2020

Heat map: Australia’s 2018 births by state and territory

Six states and two territories make up Australia. New South Wales is the most populous state and recorded 85,596 births in 2018. In contrast, there were just 3,411 births in the Northern Territory in the same period.

The number of 2018 births per Australian State and Territory has been determined using information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.8 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Births, by year and month of occurrence, by state – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

Heat map: The United Kingdom’s 2018 births by county

While many countries around the world have states and territories, the United Kingdom is divided up by counties. The county of Outer London recorded 72,352 births in 2019, while Cumbria recorded the lowest with 4,233 births.

The number of 2019 births per county in the United Kingdom has been determined using information from the United Kingdom Office for National Statistics.9 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Births in England and Wales: summary tables: Table 3: Live births and stillbirths by area of usual residence of mother, numbers, total fertility rates and stillbirths rates, 2019 – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

Heat map: Sweden’s 2019 births by county

Like the United Kingdom, Sweden is made up of various counties. In 2019, the greatest number of babies were born in Stockholm (28,409), while Gotland recorded the lowest with just 516 births.

The number of 2019 births per Swedish county, as well as the number of male and female births, has been determined using information from Statistics Sweden.10 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Live births by region, sex and year – Accessed 18/08/2020

Heat map: New Zealand’s 2017 births by regional council area

There are various regional council areas across New Zealand’s North and South Islands. In 2017, more babies were born in Auckland than in any other region (21,393 births). Meanwhile, the West Coast recorded the smallest number with 363 births.

The number of 2017 births per New Zealand regional council area has been determined using information from Stats New Zealand.11 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Births and deaths: Year ended December 2017 – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

Heat map: South Africa’s 2018 births by province

There are nine provinces across South Africa and each records thousands of births each year. KwaZulu-Natal recorded the most births in 2018 with 190,923. The Northern Cape recorded the lowest amount with 24,195.

The number of 2018 births per South African province has been determined using information from Stats South Africa.12 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Recorded live births 2018 (page 30) – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

Heat map: Russia’s 2019 births by federation

Russia is one of the most populated countries in the world and is divided into eight federations. In 2019, the Central Federal District recorded the most births (366,668) while the Far Eastern Federal District recorded the least (91,046).

The number of 2019 births per Russian Federation has been determined using information from the Federal State Statistic Service.13 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: FERTILITY, MORTALITY AND NATURAL POPULATION GROWTH BY THE SUBJECTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR 2019 – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

Heat map: The United States of America’s 2018 births by state

The United States is known for doing everything big – and that includes their population. In 2018, the state of California recorded the highest number of births, with 454,920 babies born. In contrast, Vermont recorded just 5,432 births – the lowest in the United States.

The number of 2018 births per US state has been determined using information from the United States National Center for Health Statistics.14 This information was accurate as of 18 August 2020. Source: Births, births rates, deaths, and death rates by state and territory – Accessed 18/08/2020

 

The number of male and female births has been determined using The United Nation’s data around sex ratio at birth.22 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: Table 3  Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019 – Accessed 06/08/2020

A closer look at the data

A higher number of births in developing countries

Many of the most populous nations on earth are developing countries with high fertility rates. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are several reasons for this.15

  • Families may rely on children to contribute to labour and family care responsibilities
  • There is less access to sexual education and contraception.
  • Social and religious beliefs in these nations may influence decisions around abortions, which could result in more births.

It’s also important to note that although these nations have high fertility rates, they also have higher rates of perinatal and maternal mortality (fetal deaths and death of women who are pregnant). This means that many babies and mothers aren’t surviving birth.

More men are born globally

In every country we analysed, more boys are born than girls. In China, 1.13 boys are born for every girl, while it’s much lower at 1.03 boys per girl in South Africa.2 There are several reasons for this. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), sex discrimination occurs in many countries.16 There have been cases, particularly in Asian countries, where boys are favoured over girls and abortions occur to ensure boys are born. For example, there’s long been a preference for boys in Chinese culture. More boys continue to be born in China after decades of the one-child policy (where couples could only have one child).17

Some studies believe that the father’s genes may predispose the individual to father more boys than girls or vice versa. Research conducted by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom suggests that men may inherit an undiscovered gene from their parents that may influence the number of X and Y chromosomes available for conception – which determine the sex of a baby.18 Researchers claimed that men with more brothers are more likely to father a son, while those with more sisters will likely have a girl.

Other studies believe that the level of stress a woman deals with in her daily life can impact the offspring she produces. Research from the Swiss National Science Foundation found women in more stressful jobs tend to give birth to more females than males.19

Of course, some believe it really does just come down to chance.

Baby boys don’t live longer, despite more boys being born

While we’ve observed that more boys are born than girls in many countries, it doesn’t mean that they live longer. Research published by the University of Pennsylvania and University of Southern California found that particularly in developed countries, male infants are more likely to die than females.20 The study found that males are 60% more likely to be born premature and experience health consequences such as respiratory issues. They’re also more likely to suffer injury when they’re born because they’re usually bigger than females at birth.

According to CIA data, the sex ratio between men and women decreases as people get older. As men have a shorter average life expectancy than women,25 the gap closes over time, which is why the ratio shifts significantly in older age groups. For example:

  • In the United States, there are 1.05 males for every female at birth. In the 25-54-year-old age range, this reduces to just 1.01 males for every female and dips to 0.94 males for every female in the 55-64-year-old group.16
  • It’s similar in Australia, where there are 1.06 males for every female born at birth. In the 24-54-year-old age range, this reduces to 0.99 males for every female and 0.93 males per female in the 55-64-year-old group.16

How has the number of births changed over time?

Over three five-year periods, we found that birth rates can either increase, decrease, jump or dip before another increase or decrease. But why?

A study published in Science claims that a lower birth rate may increase a country’s standard of living.21 That report found that while governments in wealthy countries rely on younger people to continually fund things such as healthcare and pensions, people may enjoy a higher standard of living in the present as they have fewer expenses associated with children.

Meanwhile, another study published by the University of Missouri-Columbia claimed there were various reasons why people may opt to have fewer children or none at all.23 The research found that if families believe their child will grow into adulthood, they’re usually less likely to have more kids. Some people simply believe that investing in themselves is more beneficial than having a baby, while the way society views raising a family may have also shifted and influence whether people choose to reproduce.

Other studies show that more women are giving birth to their first child at a later age, but that there’s an increased risk of complications when women give birth after 35.24 Research conducted by the Physiological Society found that older mothers are more likely to require pregnancy induction, caesareans or instruments such as forceps to assist with delivery, which can cause issues for both the baby and mother at birth.24 This may also affect a woman’s decision to have less children.

Check out how the number of births in our selected countries has changed between 2005 and 2020.

Number of births 2005 - 2020

The number of births between 2005 – 2020 have been noted according to estimates from the United Nations Population Division: Department of Economic and Social Affairs Source.2 This information was accurate as of 06 August 2020. Source: File FERT/1: Births (both sexes combined) by region, subregion and country, 1950-2100 (thousands) – Accessed 06/08/2020

Methodology

We used United Nations (UN) birth data between 2015 and 2020 to determine how many births occurred in the world’s 10 most populated countries. These countries include:

  • China
  • India
  • United States
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Brazil
  • Bangladesh
  • Russia
  • Mexico

We also used UN birth sex ratio data for the same period to determine how many boys and how many girls were born in the same period. As specific numbers per gender weren’t specified at a country level, we calculated our numbers based on the UN ratio to give us the total we included. Please note that these figures may differ from actual numbers.

To help us better understand birth patterns on a global scale, we also analysed eight well-known countries with smaller populations and information available at a state or regional level.

These countries include:

  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Sweden
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand

For these countries, along with the United States and Russia, we also analysed data at a state, regional or county level to see how many births occur in a year and the proportion of boys to girls. Various government sources were used for this (see below). Where a sex ratio wasn’t recorded, we used UN birth sex ratio data to estimate the gender ratio. 2019 data has been used where possible and where not, the most up-to-date information has been recorded. Data from the World Bank and CIA was used to determine the average age where a mother gives birth to her first child.

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Sources

  1. Central Intelligence Agency – ‘The World Factbook Country Comparison :: Population’ – Accessed 06/08/2020
  2. United Nations Population Division: Department of Economic and Social Affairs – ‘File FERT/1: Births (both sexes combined) by region, subregion and country, 1950-2100 (thousands)’ – Accessed 06/08/2020
  3. The World Bank – ‘Health Nutrition and Population Statistics by Wealth Quintile’ – Accessed 21/08/2020
  4. Central Intelligence Agency – ‘The World Factbook Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth’ – Accessed 21/08/2020
  5. Statistics Canada – ‘Live births, by place of residence of mother’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  6. Central Statistics Office Ireland – ‘Table 3 Births registered, classified by area of residence of mother, 2019’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  7. Statistisches Bundesamt – ‘12612-0100 – Live births: federal states, years, gender’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  8. Australian Bureau of Statistics – ‘Births, by year and month of occurrence, by state’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  9. United Kingdom Office for National Statistics – ‘Births in England and Wales: summary tables: Table 3: Live births and stillbirths by area of usual residence of mother, numbers, total fertility rates and stillbirths rates, 2019’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  10. Statistics Sweden – ‘Live births by region, sex and year’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  11. Stats New Zealand – ‘Births and deaths: Year ended December 2017’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  12. Stats South Africa – ‘Recorded live births 2018 (page 30)’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  13. Federal State Statistic Service – ‘FERTILITY, MORTALITY AND NATURAL POPULATION GROWTH BY THE SUBJECTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR 2019’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  14. United States National Center for Health Statistics – ‘Births, births rates, deaths, and death rates by state and territory’ – Accessed 18/08/2020
  15. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine – ‘Declining birth rate in Developed Countries: A radical policy re-think is required’ – Accessed 19/08/2020
  16. Central Intelligence Agency – ‘The World Factbook – Field Listing: Sex Ratio’ – Accessed 19/08/2020
  17. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – ‘DFTA Country Information Report: People’s Republic of China: Page 9’ – Accessed 20/08/2020
  18. Newcastle University – ‘Press release: Boy or girl? It’s in the father’s genes’ – Accessed 19/08/2020
  19. Science Daily and Swiss National Science Foundation – ‘Press release: Will you have male or female offspring?’ – Accessed 19/08/2020
  20. Science Daily and the University of Southern California – ‘Press release: Baby Boys Are More Likely To Die Than Baby Girls’ – Accessed 19/08/2020
  21. National Institute of Economic and Social Research – ‘Press Release: Global study shows low birth rates can bring surprising economic benefits’ – Accessed 19/08/2020
  22. United Nations Population Division: Department of Economic and Social Affairs – ‘File FERT/2: Sex ratio at birth by region, subregion and country, 1950-2100 (male births per female births)’ – Accessed 06/08/2020
  23. Science Daily and the University of Missouri-Columbia – ‘Press release: Economics influence fertility rates more than other factors’ – Accessed 28/08/2020
  24. EurekAlert and The Physiological Society – ‘Press release: New research sheds light on why older mothers more likely to face birth complications’ – Accessed 28/08/2020
  25. Central Intelligence Agency – ‘Field listing: Life expectancy at birth’ – Accessed 28/08/2020