Scientists believe that many couples have postponed the birth of children for a quieter time.
Self-isolation and other epidemiological measures reduced the birth rate in the United States at the end of last year by about 16%. These conclusions were reached by American scientists, whose article was published by the scientific journal JAMA Network Open.
“Calculations show that the birth rate in the United States sank the most between October 2020 and February 2021. Compared to the same indicators in 2019, the number of births in this period of time decreased by 16-18%. On the other hand, we expect that the birth rate will begin to grow in the second half of 2021 and subsequently become higher than the average values by 15%,” the researchers write.
In recent months, scientists have begun to take an active interest in the social and economic consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic. These observations show that the spread of the virus and the fight against it led to a sharp decline in industrial production and road traffic, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 7% over the past year. In the United States, there is an increase in alcohol consumption and heavy drug use, which is associated with both the social consequences of the introduction of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and with the increase in unemployment and economic distress in the United States.
A group of American physicians and demographers led by Molly Stout, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, was interested in how self-isolation and other epidemiological measures affected the birth rate in the United States. To do this, the researchers analyzed how the number of pregnant women who underwent examinations at the university hospital and other hospitals in Michigan in the first months of pregnancy, as well as gave birth to children in their obstetric departments, has changed over the past four years.
Comparing data from previous seasons and the previous year, the researchers found that the birth rate and the frequency of conception of children in 2020 fell markedly. The first signs of this appeared in March and April when the US authorities introduced a lot of measures aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic and reached a peak by October last year. As the calculations of scientists show, this spring this trend turned around and went in the opposite direction, as a result of which the birth rate during the summer and autumn will be 12-15% higher than typical values. According to Stout and her colleagues, this is because many couples postponed the conception of a child for a quieter time, which led to a surge in the number of new pregnancies after the lifting of restrictive measures.