While the United States birth rate has been steadily declining for the past two years, experts expect that the pandemic will push the country further into a baby bust. With many Americans struggling to make ends meet and coping with fear of their economic future, studies show it’s likely that people will decide to have fewer children.
Economic recessions have been statistically shown to decrease birth rates.
In 2008, America went into a recession, and from 2007 to 2012, the birth rate dropped 9%, according to the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization.
A report published by the organization noted that births could decline 300,000 to 500,000, due to economic turmoil caused by COVID-19, and there still isn’t and end in sight.
The economists, Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip Levine, also noted that we saw similar trends after the Great Recession and the 1918 flu pandemic. They emphasized that having children is a financial decision for many people. They estimated that more than 40% of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic will not get them back.
“The circumstances in which we now find ourselves are likely to be long-lasting and will lead to a permanent loss of income for many people,” Kearney and Levine wrote.
While the economy will eventually improve, as history shows, the pandemic will leave a lasting effect on society, and in this case, population.
“We expect that many of these births will not just be delayed — but will never happen,” Kearney and Levine also wrote.