Each year, Alaska’s Health Department releases its annual Vital Statistics report, which contains information about births, deaths, marriages, divorces, adoptions and more.
The latest report, covering all of 2022, showed a continuing decline in births and birth rates among Alaskans. While death rates dropped slightly from 2021 levels, they remain considerably higher across most age categories, when compared to the last five years.
Below are some of the findings published in the 132-page report.
— Total number of births was 9,361, a significant drop from the 10,100 reported in 2018.
— Most births occurred in Anchorage (39%), followed by the Mat-Su (15%) and Fairbanks (15%) and Kenai Peninsula (7%).
— The average age of the mother was about 29 years old, the oldest since at least 2018.
— Teen births were 357, which is a drop from the 423 teen births in 2018.
— Married women comprised 63% of births, while the unmarried accounted for 37%, the highest since at least 2018.
— 51% of babies were male, 49/% were female in 2022
— The most popular baby names for boys were Oliver, Liam and James, Theodore, Lucas and William. For girls, it was Aurora, Charlotte, Amelia, Emma, Evelyn and Olivia.
— The number of breastfeeding moms is in decline, dropping from 92% in 2018 to 89% last year.
— Preterm babies comprised 10% of all births, about average for the last five years.
— Low birth weight continues to be an issue. There65248 low-weight births in 2022, down from 652 in 2021, but higher than the 595 recorded in 2018.
— In terms of pregnancy risk factors, gestational diabetes and pregnancy hypertension were statistically higher than the four previous years.
— The number of mothers with gonorrhea (50), syphilis (34) and chlamydia (264) were all up from 2018 numbers of 29, 5 and 248, respectively.
— Birth defects were roughly the same as previous years, apart from congenital heart disease, which was associated with 15 births. That’s down from 16 in 2021, but higher than the nine reports in 2018.
— Overall fertility rates are continuing their long decline, dropping from 69.5 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44 in 2018, to 63.8 in 2022.
— Total statewide births have also declined in each of the past five years, from 10,100 in 2018 to 9,361 in 2022.
— There were 5,701 total resident deaths in 2022, down from 6,220 in 2021, but still much higher than the 4,464 reported in 2018.
— The oldest person to die last year was 107 years.
— As with previous years, the deadliest month was December (558).
— In terms of disposition, 24% of decedents were buried and 73% were cremated.
— The leading causes of death in 2022 were cancers (1,060), heart disease (990) accidents (547) and Covid (265).
— Death rates were up across nearly every age category compared to 2018, except for those ages 5-to-14 years old.
— Firearm related deaths were at their lowest number (163) since 2018, when there were 156 deaths. As in past years, most firearm deaths (114) were “intentional self-harm.”
— Overall life expectancy was 76.8 in 2022, up from 75.4 in 2021, but still significantly down from 78.9 in 2018.
— The 4,425 marriages between a man and a woman accounted for 92% of marriage unions, while the 81 same-sex “marriages” comprised 2%. Both of those numbers are consistent with the previous four years.
— Separations (dissolution, divorce and annulments) impacted 2,208 marriages – 2,030 of these among opposite sex couples.
— Alaska’s overall population in 2022 was 736,556. That’s up roughly 3,800 from the 2019 number of 732,734.