The U.S. birthrate has fallen to its lowest level in decades, according to data released on Wednesday.
The rate of births in the United States fell by 4 percent in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, with approximately 3.6 million babies being born.
That figure represents the sixth consecutive annual decline in the U.S. and the lowest rate of birth since 1979, Reuters reported.
Births in the U.S. were down most sharply in December, The New York Times reported, when the rate of births was down 8 percent from the same month in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic began in the U.S. in March 2020.
“The birthrate is the lowest it’s ever been,” Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire, told the Times.
“At some point the question is going to be: The women who delayed having babies, are they ever going to have them? If they don’t, that’s a permanent notch in the American births structure,” Johnson added.
Several major counties in Europe have also seen a steep decline in the birth rate.
Citing data from Population Reference Bureau, Reuters noted the U.S. birth rate fell to an all-time low in 1936 following the stock market crash in the late 1920s.