Trends and Differentials in California Fertility Rates 1970-2000

  • Clark A. Davis California State University, Chico
  • J. Joshua Brown California State University, Chico


In this article we examined fertility trends in the State of California from 1970 to 2000. During this period, the population of California increased 69.0 percent, while the percentage of females in the prime reproductive years (15-44) increased 76.5 percent. The number of live births increased from 362,652 in 1970 to a high of 611,666 in 1990 and stood at 531,285 in 2000. There were significant shifts in agespecific fertility rates during the 30-year period. Live births per 1,000 females declined in age categories 15-19, 20-24 and 25-29 and increased in age categories 30-34, 35-39 and 40-44, suggesting the postponement of child bearing until the later portion of the reproductive cycle. With the exception of 1970 and 1971, total fertility rates were below replacement level fertility through 1986. From 1987 to 2000, they exceeded replacement level fertility, suggesting fertility has returned as a prime factor in the growth of California’s population. With shifting fertility patterns and a diverse racial/ethnic population, the need for education and prenatal care remain as significant policy issues.

How to Cite
Davis, C. A., & Brown, J. J. (2003). Trends and Differentials in California Fertility Rates 1970-2000. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 1(3), 77-92.