PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Fewer babies are being born in the Pacific Northwest and it’s not just because of the pandemic.

New preliminary numbers show that in the first quarter of 2021, there were 428 fewer babies born than in 2020 — that’s a drop of 4.4%.

Statistics for the past 20 years show births in Oregon peaked in 2007, with nearly 50,000 babies. But by last year, that number dropped to just under 40,000.

Charles Rynerson with the Population Research Center at PSU, attributes the drop to long term trends where women are waiting longer to have kids.

“We now know that there are about 25 states nationally where there were more deaths than births in 2020. And that’s up from only about 5 states in 2019,” Rynerson said.

The teen birth rate is the lowest in Oregon history because, he said, there are fewer who are sexually active and they have better access to birth control and education.

“The number of births in March of 2021 was not too different from the number in March of 2020,” he said. “So perhaps we won’t see as big of a drop in births in 2021, as we did in 2020, at least in Oregon. I think nationally there will be another significant drop in births.”

Even though the birth rate is down, Oregon’s overall population over the past 20 years has increased by about 1.5 million people.