LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – According to a new study by the state, more people died in the last two years than were born.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says this is only the second time the state has seen a natural decrease in births since 1900.

MDHHS added that the pandemic did play a part.

The MDHHS study shows in 2021, more than 117,000 Michiganders died while a little more than 105,000 were born.

And in 2020 it was slightly worse, when almost 13,000 more Michiganders died than those who were born.

The department says while many people conceived during quarantine, the number of people who died from COVID-19 was greater.

Another reason for the change? A drop in fertility rates.

A retired professor from The University of Michigan who studies population trends says one major factor is cultural change.

Women are putting off children longer to work on their careers.

“We have seen this acceleration of women attending the universities. And the universities now, many have majority female enrollments and women are pursuing careers. And pursuing a career leads, I think in many cases, to less fertility or lower fertility.”said Ren Farley, a retired Professor of Demography from UofM.

“There just has been a change in how adults are spending their lives. And in particular, many more women are pursuing careers. And this may help to explain the lower fertility rates.” continued Farley.

Farley says the number of immigrants coming from abroad has gone down in our state, which is another contributing factor to low births, and the number of people moving out of Michigan continues to increase causing the state’s population to drop as well.