It Sure Looks Like We're in a COVID Baby Bust
Do you remember when people actually suggested that the pandemic would lead to a baby boom in late 2020 and early 2021? It turns out that the boom never happened, and in fact the opposite has happened. We are in a baby bust. This is despite the fact that couples are stuck with little to do, little to talk about, and nowhere to go. People definitely didn't make babies at the rate experts originally predicted. Understandably, people may have had many other things on their minds, especially in the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have been keeping an eye on birth rates for 2020 and appear to have seen a decline over the last year compared to that time. Compared to December 2019, December 2020 birth rates declined 8% in Florida, 5% in Arizona, and 7% in Ohio, suggesting people weren't exactly busy in March when the first lockdowns in the U.S.A. On the other hand, Spectrum Health, a Michigan hospital, reported a 3% increase in babies born, and the Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston reported no significant decrease. But one hospital with more births and another with no distinction does not make a baby boom. Philip Cohen, demographer and sociologist at the University of Maryland, stated, “People make long-term decisions when they have faith in the future, and when there is. All that is undermining trust in the future is this massive pandemic. “The falling birth rate is not a new trend, however - COVID-19 (and the massive economic and social problems besides the pandemic itself) have only exacerbated the growing problem of already falling birth rates. Amid the pandemic, Cohen has also seen a drop in births in recent months, as well as a drop in Google searches related to pregnancy and gender. In addition to some couples who may delay pregnancy during COVID-19, social distancing and bans mean fewer people have casual sex, which may have led to a decrease in unplanned pregnancies. Stress could also have played a role in the falling birth rate. According to Cohen, "If you were pregnant in December or January and then had a major stressful event in February / March, it's possible that people have had more miscarriages." He also suggests that more women may have had abortions in 2020, stating, “It is possible that people could have had more abortions, although people have also struggled to get access to abortion services. So we don't really know. "So it looks like a baby boom might not happen. However, we hope that a future after the vaccination and after the lockdown in late 2021 or 2022 can lead to more birth announcements!
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