It is possible that the pandemic created a “child bust,” not a boom


(HealthDay): The pandemic not only cost hundreds of thousands of American lives, but also appears to have caused a sharp drop in births, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

By 2020, the birth rate had dropped by about 2% a year, but that rate dropped to 4% with the onset of the pandemic, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. .

“When you take a step further and observe the decline throughout 2020, there will be greater falls in the second half of the year: 6% compared to the first part of the year [at] 2%, ”said report author Brady Hamilton, a statistical demographer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

“You have this decline that is bigger than what we’ve seen in previous years and that really shows some indication of the impact of the pandemic on the number of births,” Hamilton said.

According to the report, the number of births fell for each month from 2019 to 2020, with the most significant falls in December (8%), August (7%) and October and November (6%).

Births declined for both whites, blacks and Hispanics. Births fell in 20 states during the first half of 2020 and in 50 states during the second half of 2020. However, the decline in seven states was not significant.

In comparison, the birth rate from 2018 to 2019 fell between 1% and 3%, the researchers noted.

“The big question, of course, is what will happen as people move forward in the pandemic,” Hamilton said. “What will be particularly interesting are the 2021 data when it comes to making decisions about having children.”

Hamilton noted that birth rates have been declining throughout the industrialized world. In many countries, including the United States, the birth rate is below the replacement level. That is, fewer people are born to replace the dying.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, and no doctor and health officer in the March of Dimes, was not surprised by the declining births during the pandemic.

“The severity of a pandemic, the disparities that continue to exist, as well as the cessation of fertility services and the cessation of immigration, which contributes greatly to the birth rate, are factors related to the significant decrease in births,” he said. dir Gupta. .

“So it’s not unexpected. The numbers have been declining in the United States every year. And it’s clear that 2020 is six years in a row of decline,” he noted. “But before, counts dropped by an average of about 50,000 a year, and this report shows about 140,000 fewer births, which is almost three times as much.”

It wasn’t just the pandemic, he added. “Almost one in four babies is born to an immigrant in this country. And we have clearly seen some challenges that would have affected births,” Gupta explained.

According to what happened in the 1918 flu pandemic, Gupta expects the fall in the birth rate to continue, possibly until 2022. It may take a year or two for people to have the confidence to have families, he said.

“If we look at 1918 , the birth rate fell 10 percent after about nine to ten months after the maximum deaths, “he said.” On one day this February we had about 5,000 deaths, so we are sure to see fewer births in 2021, and it is possible that it will happen in 2022. ”

If this trend continues, it will have a significant social impact as the workforce declines as seniors retire and live longer, according to Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Wu believes the economy plays a role in declining birth rates as couples decide to have fewer children. The desire for education and a professional career delays the pregnancy of some women and, with others, the need to work makes having large families problematic.

“There are many economic implications for the decline rate, but the decrease It also has many implications for the Earth in general and for climate change, “Wu said.” There is a lot of strength at stake, and it is discouraging to know what is best in the long run. “

The results were published in a summary of NCHS data on June 23rd.

The U.S. birth rate falls to its lowest point in more than a century

More information:
For more information on the birth rate in the United States, go to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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