facebook linkedin twitter

COVID Pandemic Accelerated Declining Birth Rates World Wide

June 21, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated a long-standing trend in declining birth rates across the globe and could have long-lasting consequences, particularly for women, according to a recent panel discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.

“The decision of whether to have a child or not have a child is obviously intensely personal, but when made in aggregate by millions of couples, it can have huge implications,” said Natascha Braumann, director of Global Government and Public Affairs for Fertility at EMD Serono, the healthcare business of Merck KGaA.

A survey conducted by researchers at EMD Serono, combined with data from the World Bank, Eurobarometer and a Gallup poll from the U.S., suggests that those who are having children are limiting their families to just one or two children. 

While there are many reasons for this, data from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates these reasons are exacerbated during periods of economic decline like the Great Depression and the more recent Great Recession.

Braumann believes the COVID-19 pandemic has been similarly disruptive.

“Weddings were postponed, dating was more difficult, a lot of those markers of relationship maturity have been put on hold, and I suspect we will see the ripple effects of that over the coming years,” she said. 

According to Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau, between 2007 and 2020, the U.S. total birth rate fell from 2.1, the number needed to keep the size of the population stable as older people die, to just 1.6.

“Moving from 2.1 to 1.6 births per woman may not sound like much, but for demographers, that’s a pretty big change in a short period of time,” Mather said. 

Data from the U.S. 2020 Census shows that the U.S. is growing at the slowest pace since the 1930s. The decrease in birth rates and a lower desire to have children can also impact population dynamics and lead to serious implications for economic growth.

One particular area of concern is that a marked decline in births will ultimately lead to a decline in future caregivers just as the bulk of the population enters retirement age.

“The U.S. is expected to face a caregiver shortage, as the number of Americans 65 and older is projected to nearly double by 2060, and at the same time they’re expected to be fewer children to care for them,” Mather said. “Partly because of the declines in fertility, but also because of changing patterns of marriage and cohabitation that could reduce the number of potential caregivers that are available to older adults.”

 However, Mather said one positive aspect of the birth rate decline was the accompaniment of a decline in both the teen birth rate and unintended pregnancies.

“These are really positive developments, and population decline can certainly reduce pressures on the environment, especially if it’s coupled with more sustainable consumption of resources,” he said.

Climate change and natural disasters will continue to impact immigration and birth rates as people continue to move around and migrate under forced conditions. Those living in a desert, for example, and experiencing a water shortage have different population pressures than those living on the coast, based on environmental impacts. 

“The key is not to become too fixated on the over fertility rate, or number of births, but it’s more important that the United States develops policies and strategies that will help ensure that the country is successfully adapting to an aging population,” Mather said.

In The News

October 26, 2021
by Dan McCue
Joe Lieberman Tells TWN: Centrists Are the Key to Getting Government Working Again

WASHINGTON — In a divisive age in which it seems lawmakers will run faster from a deal than they would... Read More

WASHINGTON — In a divisive age in which it seems lawmakers will run faster from a deal than they would from a burning building, it’s nice, occasionally, to hear an elder statesman talk about the government's ability to get things done. Such was the case when... Read More

October 26, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Bigger Government Role Expected to Protect Industry From Hackers

WASHINGTON — Large-scale cyberattacks continued this week in the United States and abroad as computer security experts told a congressional... Read More

WASHINGTON — Large-scale cyberattacks continued this week in the United States and abroad as computer security experts told a congressional panel Tuesday that more government intervention is needed. On Monday, Microsoft announced that Russia-backed hackers were trying to steal information technology to disrupt the global supply... Read More

October 26, 2021
by Reece Nations
Over 100 Jailed in International Darknet Narcotics Sting

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement in tandem with the European Union... Read More

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Department of Justice’s Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement in tandem with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation on Tuesday announced the culmination of the agencies’ efforts to disrupt opioid trafficking on the darknet. The international law enforcement operation,... Read More

October 26, 2021
by Dan McCue
Biden Names Jessica Rosenworcel Permanent FCC Chair

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden made it official Tuesday, announcing he wants Jessica Rosenworcel, who has been acting FCC chair... Read More

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden made it official Tuesday, announcing he wants Jessica Rosenworcel, who has been acting FCC chair since January, to be his permanent head of the agency. If Rosenworcel is confirmed, she would be the first woman to formally serve as FCC chair.... Read More

October 26, 2021
by TWN Staff
AMP Issues Supply Chain Letter to DOT Secretary Buttigieg

WASHINGTON — The American Maritime Partnership publicly released a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg underscoring the... Read More

WASHINGTON — The American Maritime Partnership publicly released a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg underscoring the continued reliability of America’s domestic maritime services despite the current supply chain crisis.  In a press release AMP stated, American maritime is providing certainty to American... Read More

October 26, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Consumer Confidence Grew in October as Concerns Over Delta Variant Eased

NEW YORK — Consumer confidence grew in October, reversing three month of declines due to concerns over the spread of... Read More

NEW YORK — Consumer confidence grew in October, reversing three month of declines due to concerns over the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The not-for-profit, non advocacy think tank said its proprietary Consumer Confidence Index currently stands at... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top