Cribs in a makeshift hospital during the Utah pandemic
Photo: Rick Bowmer / AP
The number of newborns in the US fell to an all-time low in 2020.
According to the Washington government, 3.6 million children were born between January and December.
That was about four percent less than the year before, according to the New York Times (the full report can be found here).
Fewer children were last born - in absolute numbers - in 1979.
However, over the past four decades the overall US population has grown significantly, as has the number of women of childbearing age.
In other words, the decline in the birth rate is even more pronounced.
"The birth rate is lower than ever before," quotes the New York Times, quoting demographics researcher Kenneth Jones.
Strongest effect nine months after the first wave of pandemics
The newspaper, but also other media such as the business portal »Bloomberg« see a direct connection to the corona crisis in the USA.
On the one hand, couples may have been worried about their own health and that of the baby, and on the other hand, the financial uncertainty triggered by the severe recession.
In the past, economic crises were often followed by significant falls in the birth rate.
Examples of this are the global economic crisis in the 1930s, but also the situation in East Germany after reunification or the development in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
According to official data, the decline was particularly drastic in December (minus eight percent).
Nine months earlier, the US economy had been hit by the first severe pandemic wave, and millions of US citizens lost their jobs within a few weeks.
Because of this time lag, it is possible that the birth rate could fall even more sharply in 2021 - despite the US economy now picking up strongly again.