According to studies, the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic is likely what caused Europe’s birth rate to plummet by 14% in January 2021 compared to the prior year.
January 2021 was nine to ten months after Covid-19 related lockdowns were imposed.
According to the study, longer lockdowns were associated with fewer pregnancies.
The drop was particularly prevalent in nations with troubled healthcare systems.
According to research reported in the journal Human Reproduction, Sweden, where there was no lockdown, observed normal birth rates while Lithuania and Romania experienced the largest declines, at 28% and 23%, respectively.
The results could have “long-term effects on demography,” especially in western Europe where the population is aging, according to researchers.
Even in nations that were not significantly hit by the pandemic, fewer pregnancies took place during this time the longer the lockdowns lasted, according to the study’s author, Dr. Leo Pomar, a midwife sonographer at Lausanne University Hospital.
“We believe that the decline in live births nine months later was caused by couples’ fears of a health and social disaster at the time of the first wave of Covid-19.”
According to the paper, social isolation policies, virus-related anxieties, and the ensuing social and economic crisis may have been “indirect factors that played a part in the decision of couples to postpone children.”
Compared to January 2018 and 2019, the number of births in England and Wales fell by 13%, while those in Scotland fell by 14%.
The declines in France and Spain were 14% and 23%, respectively.
According to the study, birth rates bounced back nine to ten months after lockdowns ended, in March 2021, to levels similar to those before the epidemic.
However, according to analysts, this uptick does not seem to have made up for the birth rate decline that occurred two months before.
The fact that the birth rate has not appeared to recover from the decline in January 2021 may have long-term effects on demography, especially in western Europe where the population is aging, according to Dr. Pomar.