- What is the baby bust?
- Why did it get worse during the pandemic?
- Sociocultural changes are affecting birth rates.
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, a phenomenon that we’ve known about since the 60s has resurfaced.
Instead of a baby boom, the baby bust refers to a decrease in birth rates — a trend that is becoming increasingly evident in some countries.
Consequently, the balance between the economically active population and the non-active segment is becoming unsustainable.
With the Covid pandemic, which claimed millions of lives worldwide, many couples chose not to have children.
The baby bust in the U.S.
A report from the Brookings Institute predicted a baby bust in 2021, a year after the pandemic.
The study indicated a decrease of 300,000 to 500,000 births in the US, meaning a reduction of 8% to 13%.
Due to the uncertainty caused by the virus, many couples postponed or completely abandoned the idea of becoming parents.
However, history suggests that such trends are usually temporary.
What causes this trend?
According to BB Mundo, the baby bust, like the earlier baby boom, is a response to economic and sociocultural changes.
Obviously, having children requires financial stability, and the pandemic left many people unemployed.
This trend also emerged due to the uncertainty of the crisis and not knowing what the near future holds.
Additionally, many women have chosen to delay motherhood, which reduces the number of births per year.
Federike is an example of what happened to many women during the pandemic
The BBC shared the story of Frederike, a young German woman who illustrates the baby bust that started during the pandemic.
At 33, Frederike moved in with her parents to care for an elderly relative, seeing it as an opportunity to spend more time with her family.
However, over time, she began to feel a «deep sense of loss» — a sentiment shared by many people around the world.
She felt the pandemic was robbing her of the opportunity to meet someone and become a mother during her prime dating years.
«My life has been put on hold»
The young German woman said that she began to appreciate how precious time is as she felt her life had been put on hold.
Frederike tried online dating, but living in a very cold area made it challenging when they couldn’t spend time together indoors.
Being 33, she felt she was wasting her child-bearing years during the pandemic.
«»I’m sitting indoors in the years when I can have a child,» she said. Experts were not surprised by the baby bust.
Is the baby bust caused by people having less sex?
A leading theory about the cause of the baby bust, especially in Europe and the U.S., is that people are having less sex.
A survey by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University showed surprising findings.
Regardless of gender or age, 40% of respondents said their sex life decreased during the pandemic, contrary to expectations.
According to the BBC, another survey in China showed similar results. Should we be concerned?