Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify that Austin's birth rate went down 0.7 percentage points in 2022, rather than 0.7%.

Despite recent birth-related population increases in Travis County, Austin remains Texas’ lowest-ranked major city for birth rates and the fifth lowest in the U.S.

The overview

While the average U.S. birth rate for women in 2022 was 5%, five major Texas cities had higher overall percentages, according to a 2024 study by SmartAsset. The study, using U.S. Census Bureau data, analyzed the birth rates of women ages 15-50 and compared family sizes of large U.S. cities over two years.

For 2022, Dallas ranked second highest in birth rates at 6.3%, El Paso was fifth at 5.9%, San Antonio was sixth at 5.8%, Houston was eighth at 5.6%, and Fort Worth was 15th at 5.3%. Austin’s birth rate was 3.8% in 2022, down 0.7 percentage points from 2021.

A closer look

Austin had the second-lowest study sample compared to the top four Texas cities with 285,094 women sampled and 10,736 giving birth in 2022. In addition to the lowest birth rate, Austin also experienced the lowest family size compared to other major cities in Texas.

Offering input

Austin’s housing affordability issues coupled with a large population of women in higher education leads to women delaying childbirth and families moving outside of Austin when they’re preparing to have a family, Austin City Demographer Lila Valencia said.

“Many of the families who would have children here in Austin may have them outside of the city,” Valencia said. “When they're preparing to have a family, they may move farther outside of the city where it's more affordable, or they may move there shortly after they've had a birth.”

Despite Austin’s young population signifying possible high fertility rates, Valencia said she was not surprised Austin’s birth rates ranked fifth lowest for major cities in the U.S.

“We also have a highly educated workforce and a large college population, and we know that those two things are [negatively] correlated with higher fertility rates and more correlated with delayed childbirth,” Valencia said.

Without addressing the city’s rising affordability challenges—including housing, child care and health care—Valencia said she doesn’t see Austin’s fertility rates growing in the next five years. One thing that could increase Austin’s child population is successfully integrating immigrant populations, such as the growing Asian community, into the city by providing them with resources and affordable housing, Valencia said.

“If we don't do much to address that affordability challenge, I think that we will continue to see declines in the fertility rates or at least have lower fertility rates relative to other cities,” Valencia said.

In case you missed it

Travis County contradicted Austin’s downward birth trend by experiencing a significant population increase with an estimated 16,289 births in 2023.