leading to the fewest number of newborns in 35 years.The decline is the latest sign of a prolonged national “baby bust” that’s been going on for more than a decade. And some experts believe the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy will suppress the numbers further.
“This unpredictable environment, and anxiety about the future, is going to make women think twice about having children,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University. The latest numbers were released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, which is considered preliminary, is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year.
The latest numbers were released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, which is considered preliminary, is based on a review of more than 99 percent of birth certificates issued last year. The CDC found the number of births fell about 1 percent from 2018, to about 3.7 million. Birth rates continued to fall for teen moms and for women in their 20s.Aside from a one-year uptick in 2014, U.S. births have been falling every year since 2007, when a recession hit the country. The drop continued even after the economy rebounded.
It’s unclear what will happen to births this year, said Brady Hamilton, the CDC report’s lead author. The impact of the last few months’ events won’t become clear in maternity wards until late this year or early next, he said.Santelli said it’s possible births will go up, at least among some groups. Access to birth control and abortion has become more difficult, and some homebound couples may find themselves with greater opportunity to conceive, he said. But others say it’s more likely births will plummet.
The idea that there will be a lot of “coronababies” is “widely perceived as a myth,” said Hans-Peter Kohler, a University of Pennsylvania fertility researcher. The debate most demographers are having is not about whether there will be a decline, but whether it will be lasting, he said.