When lockdown orders were issued in mid-March, some observers suggested pandemic pregnancies would follow.
Not exactly. Economists and fertility experts now say the COVID-19 crisis has had the opposite effect. Time magazine cites a Brookings Institution report estimating as many as 500,000 fewer births in 2021, a 13% decline from 2019.
It appears some women are delaying or passing on plans to have babies because of economic uncertainty. A telehealth clinic, Nurx, reports a 50% increase in requests for birth control since the pandemic began, and a 40% increase in requests for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive. The Guttmacher Institute surveyed sexually active women and found 34% have decided to either delay getting pregnant or have fewer children because of COVID-19-related concerns. The first newborn cases were reported recently in Los Angeles County, where eight of 193 babies tested positive for the virus.
A baby bust is not good for the economy, of course. In addition to suppressing consumer demand, it has long-term consequences for an aging workforce.