Last year, the United States had the fewest babies in over four decades, mirroring a drop in the European birth rate, as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed more people to care for sick family members or deal with work losses.
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate in the United States dropped 4% in 2020 to about 3.6 million infants, the lowest since 1979.
Although the CDC did not attribute the overall drop to the pandemic, experts have projected that pandemic-related factors such as fear would have an effect on the country’s birth rate.
In general, fertility rates in the United States have decreased over time as women marry later and postpone motherhood, especially in years when the economy has slowed.
The United States birth rate hit an all-time low in 1936, according to older data from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a non-profit statistics collector, following the 1929 stock market crash.
Birth rates fell again in the 1970s as a result of major societal reforms, including the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case.
In a study released in December 2020, the Brookings Institute predicted that in 2021, there will be about 300,000 fewer births in the United States.
Many European countries have seen a drop in births, and analysts predict a baby bust this year across the continent.
Births in Italy, for example, fell by 22% in December, nine months after the nation was put under Europe’s first lockdown.
Reckitt (RKT.L), Nestle (NESN.S), and Danone (DANO.PA) have all recorded a decrease in baby formula sales, which they attribute to falling birth rates.
According to the CDC, the United States’ general fertility rate, which calculates the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, has decreased by 4%.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this provisional data is focused on 99.87 percent of all birth records reported and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics last year as of Feb. 11, 2021.
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