The pandemic has been accompanied by a significant decrease in crude birth rates in high-income countries, with especially strong descents in southern Europe: Italy (-9.1%), Spain (-8.4%) and Portugal (-6.6%).
This is the main conclusion of a study led by the Italian Bocconi University published in Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), for which numerical models have been used and data from 22 countries have been analyzed.
The pandemics are a key factor of changes in human populations, since they affect both mortality and birth rate rates.
The largest pandemic of the last century, the so-called Spanish influenza (1918-1919), caused in the United States a decrease in birth rates, which passed 23 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1918 to 20 per 1,000 in 1919 (-13% ).
Comparable effects were seen in countries such as Great Britain, India, Japan or Norway.
Now, preliminary tests suggest that the pandemic of the COVID-19 has decreased birth in high-income countries.
To evaluate in more detail the effect of this disease, Arnstein Aassve and colleagues collected monthly births from live births from January 2016 to March 2021 from a total of 22 high-income countries.
By applying and debugging the models, the data show that the pandemic has been accompanied by a significant decrease in the crude birth rates beyond what is foreseen by the previous trends in seven of the 22 countries considered.
Thus, gross birth rates fell by 8.5% in Hungary, 9.1% in Italy, 8.4% in Spain and 6.6% in Portugal.
In addition, Belgium, Austria and Singapore also showed a significant decrease in gross birth rates, according to this analysis.
However, the authors emphasize that the available data only offer information about the first wave and, therefore, "only allow us to glimpse the general descent during the pandemic".
The data provides information on several stages of the first wave and indicate that, in some countries, such as France and Spain, a recovery of birth rates was observed in March 2021, referring to the conceptions of June 2020.
For those countries, June 2020 marked the point at which the first wave of the pandemic forwarded, and could, consequently, reflect a rebound.
According to the authors of this work, the results reveal the impact of the pandemic in the dynamics of the population and may have political implications for the care of children, housing and the labor market.Updated Date: 03 September 2021, 11:47