By Aarthi Shivanathan
According to new research, the increase in fertility rates among U.S. born mothers was greatest for women below 25 years of age.
There are good reasons to believe you’re seeing babies all around.
A new paper confirms the increase in births last yea, which is largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Monday’s paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “We… found the COVID pandemic caused a small “baby bump” among U.S.-born moms.”
The study concluded that the combination of the 2020 fertility decline (and the 2021 baby bump) led to an increase among U.S. moms giving birth to around 46,000 children.
Researchers wrote that the 2021 baby bump marks the first significant reversal of declining U.S. fertility rate rates since 2007.
Researchers from Northwestern, Princeton, University of California Los Angeles, and Princeton analyzed U.S. births between 2015-2021 and California births between 2015-2022 to determine the effects of the pandemic on child bearing.
This was due in part to the Federal Government spending billions on unemployment benefits and the rise of remote work, an increase in stock-market prices, and a surge in home values.
Lockdown effect on childbearing
The fertility rate in America has declined between 2007 and 2020. According to the researchers, the U.S. total fertility rate (which is the average number expected children over a woman’s lifetime) fell from 2.1 and 1.6.
This set new records for historic lows and encouraged “widespread concern about the American family’s future,” about the future labor force and about public programs that will be associated with an aging population younger generations might have to shoulder more.
Researchers said that there was an initial drop in fertility rates when the country was placed under lockdown in 2020.
Researchers found that this was due to a drop in foreign-born mothers giving birth in the U.S. in the pre-pandemic years. They accounted for 23% U.S. births. Their fertility rate dropped as a result of travel restrictions, which in turn affected the overall U.S. birth rate.
Comparatively to U.S.-born mother’s, the researchers found that there was a “baby boom”, which increased the total fertility rate above its pre-pandemic trend of 6.2% by year end. The chart below shows that it was the first significant reversal of the Great Recession.
First-time mothers under 25 years old were the most affected by the baby bump. According to researchers, this indicates that many women chose to start families earlier because of the pandemic.
College-educated women between 30 and 34 also experienced a bump, probably due to their ability of working from home.
The researchers concluded that the COVID-19 recession, unlike any other economic downturn in recent times, increased fertility rather than decreased it among U.S-born women.
The pandemic could have caused the bump by a reduction in fertility and closure of abortion providers.
Although the data for baby bumps is from California, the researchers stated that it will be “closely” compared to the overall U.S data.
Are you a working mom with thoughts on parenting and managing work and family life? Write to MarketWatch reporter Aarthi Swaminathan at [email protected]
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