Research

U.S. Research Predicts Pandemic Baby Bust, Not Boom

Although "COVID babies" have plenty of nicknames, infants born during the pandemic will be few and far in between. (Photo: Carles Navarro Parcerisas / EyeEm via Getty Images)
Although “COVID babies” have plenty of nicknames, infants born during the pandemic will be few and far in between. (Photo: Carles Navarro Parcerisas / EyeEm via Getty Images)

The widely speculated “COVID baby boom” caused by the pandemic is likely not going to happen. Instead, we can expect to see declining birth rates, according to U.S. economists.

A report by Brookings Institution researchers predicts that there could be 300,000 to 500,000 fewer babies born in the U.S. next year, informed by historical analysis of previous public health crises.

Economists Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip Levine looked at birth rates from the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and the 2009 Great Recession. They found that after both events, birth rates tanked. With every wave of deaths during the 1918 pandemic, fewer children were birthed nine months later. The job losses of the recession led to higher unemployment levels,

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