Logically it added up. Families locked down for weeks and in some instances months during the pandemic. There’s only so much to do at home and by sheer proximity, the odds of spending more time enjoying each other’s company naturally fit the notion of a new baby boom. Adding to the logic is the recent trend of couples waiting longer to start families due to career interests. With those career interests on hold, and in many cases ended with now previous employers, a focus on family also made sense. But just as it takes two to tango, it takes more than logic and opportunity alone to produce a baby. Turns out that rather than a baby boom, we’re having a baby bust.
Now four-plus months into the pandemic, we have the pregnancy information in hand to see what has and more often than not, hasn’t happened during the pandemic. It turns out the longer-term trends of young families prioritizing financial security prior to starting a family is only exacerbated by the economic challenges presented by the pandemic. Unless many pregnant women simply are avoiding medical care altogether, there are fewer pregnancies being reported right now than at any other time on record since World War II.
Current estimates by the Brookings Institute show the pandemic has actually led to 400,000 fewer pregnancies than would have happened otherwise. That’s an average of around 100,000 fewer pregnancies per month while the pandemic plays out. So much for a baby boom. Given the shift in family priorities towards career stability and financial security, it appears a good economy is the best way to make more babies. In other words, an economic boom is our best chance for a baby boom.
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