Census: Births down in December 2020, January & February 2021

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WASHINGTON, DC (WWLP) – A report from the U.S. Census Bureau has found a downturn in births in winter 2020-2021 but there were signs of a possible rebound by March.

March 13, 2020 the national COVID-19 emergency went into effect. Babies conceived in the first weeks after that would be born during or after the first week of December 2020. The Census looked at other data that could account for the decline. Historically, births in the U.S. have a seasonal pattern and births have been decreasing since 2008 (with the exception of 2014).

Image courtesy the U.S. Census Bureau

According to the data, between 2000 and 2019, the number of daily births declined an average 0.39% a year. Then between 2010 and 2019, the number of daily births dropped on average 0.96% a year. But the decline was much steeper in in 2020: The average number of daily births was 4.06% lower than in 2019.

Other countries are seeing similar birth data during the pandemic. The Human Fertility Database shows monthly fertility data through December 2020 for 35 countries and through March 2021 for 30 countries. Twenty-one of the 30 countries with monthly data through March 2021 had fewer births in December 2020 than in 2019 but more births in March 2021 than in March 2020. The Census says that other countries also have their own seasonality patterns and a different COVID-19 timeline than the U.S.

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