Around 300,000 fewer births expected amid COVID-19

In a separate survey, European women also shared similar sentiments to delay giving birth or have fewer children.

Pregnant woman (Illustrative) (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Pregnant woman (Illustrative)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Some 34% of American women have decided to either postpone their plans for having a child or reduce the number of children they expect to have due to the ongoing health crisis, according to research by the Brooking Institution.
In a separate survey, European women also shared similar sentiments to delay giving birth or have fewer children.
With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the strain it has put on the wallets of millions around the world and the uncertainty that accompanies it, the Brookings Institution reports that it will result in around 245,000 to 320,000 fewer births in 2021 - although they add that birth data was not available before making its prediction.
In addition, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic nearly half of adults reported a decline in their sex lives. The largest decline was reported among those with young children at school age – many of which are still at home learning remotely or not at all.
The Brookings Institution also looked at Google Trends to accompany its research and found that "pregnancy-related terms, such as 'ClearBlue' (a pregnancy test), 'ultrasound' and 'morning sickness' have fallen since the pandemic began." Based on the research surrounding Google Trends, the study authors purported a 15% decrease in births based on that data alone – larger than that predicted by the main research.
Based on empirical analysis, the study authors discovered that a one percent drop in employment rate is equal to a one percent drop in the birth rate. Therefore, based on data presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistic for April to November, the 5.5% increase in unemployment - from 3.5% to 9% - would equate to a similar drop in the US birth rate.
The research institution also accounted for anxiety and social factors surrounding the coronavirus pandemic having a direct effect on the birth rate by comparing it to the data of the 1918 Spanish Flu. It equated that the death rate can be directly correlated to a drop in the birth rate, and used the data as part of its overall prediction.
The Spanish Flu led to the deaths of 408,000 people in the US. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the deaths of over 314,000 Americans as of December 19 and is expected to increase to 539,000 deaths by April. This data alone accounts for around 38,000 to 114,000 fewer births, according to the institution.
"It will still be several months before data will be available on the number of post-pandemic births that we can use to begin to assess our forecast," the study authors said on the Brookings Institution website. "In the meantime, we have revisited our prediction based on the most recent evidence available. As of now, we stand by our prediction of a COVID baby bust of around 300,000 fewer births.
"But the longer the pandemic lasts, and the deeper the economic and social anxiety runs, it is feasible that we will see an even larger reduction in births with an increasing share of them averted permanently."