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What Happened To The COVID-19 Quarantine Baby Boom?

Baby Photo Credit: Image by Bessi from Pixabay

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and people were forced to stay home to reduce the virus’ spread, many people predicted a quarantine-inspired baby boom.

Instead, we’re seeing a baby bust.

According to states that track their birth rates in realtime, reported a decline in births from December 2020 compared to December 2019.

In Florida, the birth rate is down 8 percent, while it’s down 7 percent in Ohio, according to NECN.

With 9 months to gestate, babies conceived after the mid-March economic lockdown would start being born in December.

Research by Philip Cohen at the University of Maryland showed that there are typically three things that lead to having a baby - belief in a brighter future, confidence in the accessibility of social support services, and outlook on the current state of things.

Even though people are spending lots of time together during the pandemic, providing plenty of opportunities for sex, the stability that encourages people to have children is missing.

Birth rates were already dropping in America before COVID-19 hit, Cohen noted, and the pandemic appears to be accelerating the trend. The U.S. birth rate held relatively steady at 2.08 babies per woman until the Great Recession of 2008. 

In 2018, the most recent information available, the U.S. birth rate was 1.73 - the lowest it has been since the World Bank started keeping track in 1960. Prior to this, the lowest birth rate in the U.S. was in 1976 when it was 1.74 babies per woman.

The U.S. isn't alone in its population decline. The worldwide fertility rate has fallen from a high of 5.05 in 1964 to 2.4 babies per woman in 2018.

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