NATIONWIDE — The U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) has released a report which shows that there were fewer births in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data collected shows that throughout the winter of 2020-2021, the birthrate in the United States took a down turn.
On March 13, 2020, a national emergency was declared in light of the rising cases of COVID-19. As a result, babies conceived in the immediate months following the declaration would have been born in the December 2020/January 2021 timeframe.
While examining the data collected, the USCB took several factors into consideration, including:
- The seasonal pattern of births within the United States
- How the U.S. birthrate has been declining since 2008
- Similar patterns observed in other countries
Seasonal Birthrate Trends
Generally, the USCB sees trends in birthrate which includes an increase in the spring, peak during the summer and then a cline in fall, with the lowest number of births generally occurring during winter. As a result, birthrate numbers during December and January would have been expectedly low anyway.
December 2020 saw a 7.66 percent decline from the same data pulled from December 2019. This averaged to 763 fewer births each day during December 2020 compared to December 2019.
January 2021 took a harder hit with a 9.41 percent decrease in births over the previous year.
Decline in U.S. Births
As data shows, there has been a steady decline in births year after year since 2008. In fact, data shows that between 2000 and 2019, the average birthrate has declined by an average of .39 percent each year. In 2010, the average daily births dropped on average of .96 percent each year through 2019.
While December 2020 and January 2021 were studied closely, the USCB also noted that there were fewer births than average during the summer of 2020. This leads researchers to believe that there would have been a decline in births anyway, despite the pandemic, or that there were a higher rate than usual of conceptions that were not carried to term.
In Comparison to Other Countries
The USCB’s report cited the Human Fertility Database, which is a joint project between the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and the Vienna Institute of Demography. The project’s goal is to provide a detailed and accessible source for fertility data.
Of the thirty countries in which the database covers for the December 2020 through March 2021 reporting period, twenty-one had fewer births in December 2020.
While it is important to note that it is still too early to see if these declination trends will continue, the USCB notes that March 2021 saw a slight rebound in birthrate data.
The USCB does note that the unusually year-over-year data for the winter of 2020-2021 may be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When studying the data, the USCB reports that March 2021 only saw a .15 percent decrease over 2020. In comparison, there was a reported .91 percent decrease in March 2020 over 2019.
USCB reports that the decline pattern during December 2020 and January 2021 may be attributed to individuals and couples postponing having children in light of the pandemic and by the stress of the pandemic or lack of physical interaction with sexual partners.
As time goes on, this data will help provide more insight as to some of the challenges that Americans faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.