While a series of locks may seem promising for a baby boom, it is clear that after a year of epidemics, nothing like this has happened in European countries. Not only has mortality increased significantly, but the number of babies born has dropped significantly in many countries.
Nine months after the first lockdown, France became the first country to release statistics on the number of babies born. Statistics from the French Bureau of Statistics show a surprising decline – 53,900 babies were born in a month, 13 percent less than in January 2020.
For France, the country with the traditionally highest fertility rate in the 27-member European Union, this is the largest drop in births since the abrupt end of childbearing in the 1970s. Births last month were down seven percent compared to the same period last year. The total number of children born last year, 735 thousand, is at its lowest level since the end of World War II.
New: We have all seen the impact of epidemics on mortality rates, but what is the reverse of the spectrum: birth rates?
– John Burn-Murdoch (bjburnmurdoch) March 10, 2021
“The idea was that if the couple bouted themselves at home for a long time, they would have more children. But that was a silly view,” he says. Financial Times Anne Solasovaz Int, French National Demographic Institute. “Actually, it’s hard for people to always be together like this.”
According to preliminary data, a sharp decline in the number of newborns has been reported in Spain and Italy, as well as countries affected by the aging population. A similar trend is reported by the United Kingdom and the United States.
In June 2020, Brookings Company He estimatedBetween 300,000 and 500,000 fewer babies will be born in the United States than in 2019. Further research by this company confirms that Americans spend more time re-evaluating at home than parents rotating plans. With the birth rate, internet searches on topics related to sex and pregnancy have also declined. Thirty-four percent of American women decide to postpone pregnancy “until later.”
It is not surprising to the population that the number of newborns in industrialized countries is declining after an epidemic or economic crisis such as the Great Depression of the 1930s or the oil crisis of 1973. In such cases, potential parents are at work insecurity and fear of not being able to provide for their offspring.
“This time it’s different in that it’s a big drop,” explains Arnaud Reignier-Loliere, Inteda’s analytics director. “It’s a bit unprecedented, but the crisis is unprecedented,” he said, pointing to the “anxiety” and “fear situation” of the past 12 months, as individuals not only fear for their livelihoods, but the idea that their young children are sick.
Fewer marriages, fewer births
Italy, the first European country to experience the effects of an epidemic of all kinds, saw a 21.6 percent drop in births nine months after the lock-up, compared to a year earlier. Italian Statistical Association Condition In 2020, it recorded about 400,000 births, which is 20,000 less than in 2019. On the other hand, 647 people died – creating the largest gap between birth and death since the outbreak of Spanish flu in 1918.
Estad associates the decline in births with a decline in the number of marriages. Half of them have taken place in the last ten months of last year, which means Italian couples are much less likely to conceive before marriage. France also saw less interest in weddings last year. Their numbers have dropped by 34 percent since 2019.
The epidemic also shook up statistics in Spain. According to Information December and January released by the Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday were 20 percent lower than the same months a year ago. 23,266 births in December was the smallest monthly increase since the first figures were recorded in 1941.
Covid-19, on the other hand, did not interfere so much with the birth rate in the northern parts of Europe. Sweden fell 6% in January, according to national data. In contrast, the Netherlands and Finland have reversed the declining trend in births over the years.
The fall in the birth rate in Europe could be a real problem over time – as a result the economy and society as a whole will be perceived in the form of changes from education to the pension system.
For example, the Philippines sees a child boom during an epidemic. UN According to the warning, the main reason for this is the problem of access to contraception and medical facilities. Thus, the number of unwanted pregnancies and deaths during childbirth also increased.
It is questionable whether the decline in births is a temporary fluctuation or a continuous trend. “In general, in the case of crises, there is a tendency to return to fertility levels that are equal to or higher than they were before the crisis,” Reignier-Lollier said.
However, Theresa Castro, a statistician at the National Research Council of Spain, predicts that births could fall sharply throughout 2021. “I don’t think this is a temporary phenomenon,” he said. “Uncertainty is a major reason why people do not have children. People still face significant health, especially economic insecurity.”