Story at a glance

  • Some believed lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic would spur a baby boom.
  • An Associated Press analysis of birth data from 25 states found that the opposite occurred.
  • Births across the U.S. fell 4.3 percent from 2019 to 2020.

It was hypothesized that as the country went into lockdown last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the lack of things to do and places to go would lead to an increase in conceptions and births. According to a new analysis by the Associated Press (AP), the exact opposite occurred.

AP said, “The COVID-19 baby boom appears to be a baby bust,” stating that birth rates fell drastically.

The analysis compiled the birth data for residents from 24 states, as well as the data from California, the most populous state in the country, which included data from all births — residents and visitors.


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While births across the U.S. had been dropping by less than 1 percent through the past decade, the analysis concluded that births for 2020 had fallen 4.3 percent from 2019.

Since a majority of births in 2020 were of babies conceived in 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, AP acknowledges the data does, at least in part, reflect what was already a downward trend. 

However, data for births in December 2020, as well as January and February 2021, which would have coincided with conception during the lockdown, showed a decreasing birth rate of 6.5 percent, 9.3 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in comparison to those in months the year prior.

“When there’s a crisis, I don’t think people are thinking about reproduction,” John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health who reviewed the analysis, told AP.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to provide a compilation of national birth data at some point this year.


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Published on Apr 28, 2021