As COVID-19 spread across the United States, more than 300 million Americans were ordered to remain at home for weeks and even months. The extended period of isolation led many to speculate that the U.S. could see a spike in births nine months — a coronavirus baby boom.
Such an increase, however, may be unlikely. For many families, economic conditions and job security play a significant role in deciding when to have a child. And while COVID-19 has given many couples the opportunity to try for a pregnancy, the crisis has also led to the country’s worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. Here is a look at every state’s unemployment claims since COVID-19 shut the economy down.
Yet another factor that could give would-be new parents pause is the possibility of unnecessary exposure to the virus. Couples who are expecting need to make regular doctor visits, and more than 98% of newborns in the U.S. are delivered in a hospital — many of which have been overwhelmed by coronavirus patients and could continue to be if there is a second wave of the outbreak. Health care facilities are high-risk areas, and many states have placed restrictions on nonessential medical treatment in recent months. These are every state’s rules for staying at home and social distancing.
Should the birth rate dip as a result of the pandemic, it would be the continuation of a long-term trend. The birth rate has fallen in the U.S. in 10 of the last 11 years — and the birth rate in 2018 of 12 births for every 1,000 people was the lowest on record since at least the early 1930s.
Exactly how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the U.S. birth rate remains to be seen. To provide some historical context, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System to determine how many people were born every year since 1933. We also included population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau for each year as well as the most popular names from the Social Security Administration.