Fewer babies were born in New York City in 2020 than any year on record, while more residents died across the five boroughs in a single year than they had since the early 1970’s, according to recently released city data.

The findings were issued as part of the New York City Health Department’s annual analysis of vital statistics from 2019. But the numbers offer an early preview of 2020’s birth and death statistics — and how Covid-19 reshaped those trends.

Births dropped 9.4 percent from the prior year to 100,022, while deaths surged by 51 percent to 82,143, according to the health department. Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi attributed the striking changes in demographic trends to the COVID-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc on New York City and brought normal life to a screeching halt during much of 2020.

“We have seen the devastating toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in New York City,” Chokshi said in a statement. “New Yorkers have suffered so much. My heart is with all New Yorkers mourning a friend, family member or loved one lost to this terrible virus.”

The estimated death rate based on the population from the year earlier was about 9.9 deaths per 1,000 residents, up from 6.5 in 2019 — a level not seen since the early 1990’s when another epidemic, HIV/AIDS was rattling New York City and murders reached historic heights. The Health Department didn’t provide a mortality rate for 2020 because it was still confirming statistics on population size for that year.

Frank Heiland, the Associate Director of CUNY’s Institute for Demographic Research, said the 2020 spike bucked more than a century of steadily decreasing death rates in New York City.

“That’s a shocking increase, absolutely shocking,” Heiland said. “It tells us this is a once in a lifetime event and New York City was extremely hard hit by it.”

The surge in mortality rates, known as “excess deaths” can include confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, as well other types of deaths indirectly related to the pandemic. Most of those took place in the first half of 2020 during the pandemic’s first wave.

By May of that year, researchers had tracked 24,172 excess deaths. The latest health department figures, which were released last week and take into account the full year, now find a total of 27,584 excess deaths in 2020, compared to the prior year.

Overdose deaths also jumped in 2020 in New York City — on par with a national trend — though deaths by suicide remained steady, according to preliminary city data.

While birth rates overall have been declining since the early nineties, Heiland noted an estimated 1.2 percentage point drop in the 2020 birth rate as a significantly steeper decline than had occurred in more than a decade.

“It’s maybe not quite as surprising [as the death rate], but clearly COVID had something to add,” Heiland said. “Intuitively it makes a lot of sense … People were not considering making that kind of commitment, which having children obviously is, in such a highly uncertain economic environment.”

Jennifer Brite, an assistant epidemiology professor at York College, and an associate at the CUNY’s Institute for Demographic Research, said part of the drop in birth rates could have to do with New Yorkers leaving the city to have babies during the height of the pandemic. Even if they’d since returned, their children wouldn’t be factored into the city’s birth rate. And overall, she said, it’s still a little too soon to say how the pandemic affected people’s decision to have children. Most of the babies born in 2020, she noted, would have been conceived before the pandemic hit.

“When there are cataclysmic things that happen, birth rates can go either way. We know after World War II birth rates went up spectacularly,” she said, though she added the preliminary data suggests we could continue to see birth rates drop. “Nobody really knew what was going to happen with COVID.”