JAMESTOWN – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic it was assumed with plenty of romantic partners stuck inside night after night with nothing to do we could be in line for a COVID baby boom, but new research begs to differ.
Researches with Brookings found we’re far more likely to get a COVID baby bust, and they blame economic distress as the primary cause.
University of Maryland Professor of Economics Melissa Kearney says people aren’t necessarily worried about babies, but rather, they’re worried about money and their health.
“This pandemic has moved way beyond a weekend of everyone in the house maybe having a romantic weekend with their partners, and as is clear, it’s a huge economic shock to a lot of households and a lot of couples,” explained Kearney.
She researched the topic for Brookings, and using past economic studies of fertility behavior as well as data from the Great Recession and the 1918 Spanish Flu, she found that there could be 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births next year.
Kearney says we likely saw a one percent reduction in births beyond last year, and, given downward trends in fertility we will see things will fall an additional 8 or 9 percent this year.
She says how persistent or how permanent this is depends on how quickly the economy recovers, how quickly people find new jobs, and, whether those new jobs replace their lost income.