Nepal | August 07, 2020

US births fall, and virus could drive them down more

Associated Press
Share Now:

NEW YORK: US births continued to fall last year, leading to the fewest number of newborns in 35 years.

The decline is the latest sign of a prolonged national “baby bust” that’s been going on for more than a decade. And some experts believe the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy will suppress the numbers further.

“This unpredictable environment, and anxiety about the future, is going to make women think twice about having children,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University.

The latest numbers were released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, which is considered preliminary, is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year.

The CDC found the number of births fell about 1% from 2018, to about 3.7 million. Birth rates continued to fall for teen moms and for women in their 20s.

Aside from a one-year uptick in 2014, U.S. births have been falling every year since 2007, when a recession hit the country. The drop continued even after the economy rebounded.

Experts say there are a number of causes, but chief among them are shifting attitudes about motherhood: Many women and couples delay childbearing and have fewer kids once they start.

The economy is a factor, but not because of short-term cycles in hiring. Many jobs are low-paying and unstable, and that coupled with high rents and other factors have caused women and couples to be much more cautious about having kids, said Dr. John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health.

It’s unclear what will happen to births this year, said Brady Hamilton, the CDC report’s lead author. The impact of the last few months’ events won’t become clear in maternity wards until late this year or early next, he said.

Santelli said it’s possible births will go up, at least among some groups. Access to birth control and abortion has become more difficult, and some homebound couples may find themselves with greater opportunity to conceive, he said.

But others say it’s more likely births will plummet.

The idea that there will be a lot of “coronababies” is “widely perceived as a myth,” said Hans-Peter Kohler, a University of Pennsylvania fertility researcher.

The debate most demographers are having is not about whether there will be a decline, but whether it will be lasting, he said.

“The decline due to COVID-19 might be different given the extent and severity of the crisis, and the long-lasting uncertainty that is caused by it,” Kohler wrote in an email.

Other highlights from the CDC report:

— Birth rates fell last year for nearly all age groups up to 34 years old, but rose for women in their early 40s.

— The birth rate for 15– to 19-year-olds dropped 5% from 2019. It’s fallen almost every year since 1991.

— The cesarean delivery rate dropped to under 32%.

— The percentage of infants born at less than 37 weeks of gestation inched up for the fifth year in a row, to more than 10%.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Gandaki Province CM Prithivi Subba Gurung

No statutory ground to seek PM’s resignation

Gandaki Province chief minister Prithvi Subba Gurung is NCP (NCP) Gandaki Province in-charge. A former secretary of then CPN-UML party, Gurung is the supporter of Prime Minister and NCP (NCP) co-chairperson KP Sharma Oli. As the intra-party feud has escalated lately, CM Gurung has been quite occupie Read More...

International Commission of Jurists calls for transparency and justice

KATHMANDU: International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international non-government organisation which works as advocate for justice and human rights, has called upon the Government of Nepal to undertake substantial reforms in order to ensure that the wide-ranging constitutional and political re Read More...

Industry's violation of COVID-19 safety protocol causes virus transmission in community

DHARAN: An industry has been held responsible for transmission of coronavirus at community level in Dharan Sub-metropolitan City of Sunsari district.  Negligence on the part of Priti Valve and Fittings Industries Pvt Ltd located in the Industrial Area of Dharan-8 has been  blamed for local Read More...

China, coronavirus

360 new coronavirus cases detected; nationwide tally hits 21,750

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population has recorded 360 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Thursday, taking the nationwide count to 21,750. The new infections were confirmed after testing 6,622 specimens through PCR method across the nation in the last 24 hours. As many as 419,57 Read More...

Kathmandu valley sees highest daily-tally as 87 cases surface Thursday

KATHMANDU: As many as 87 Covid-19 cases were reported in Kathmandu valley in the last 24 hours, the highest single day tally recorded yet. Of the 87 cases, 76 cases were identified in Kathmandu alone while Lalitpur reported ten infections. Only one case was detected in Bhaktapur district on Thurs Read More...

Highest number of deaths registered in a single day in Nepal, five reported in 24 hrs

KATHMANDU: Five more fatalities related to the coronavirus infection have been reported today by the Ministry of Health and Population. This is the highest single-day deaths recorded in Nepal. A 45-year-old male from Rangeli Municipality-8 of Morang passed away on Wednesday, August 5. He had just Read More...

Man City sign Bournemouth defender Ake

LONDON: Manchester City have signed defender Nathan Ake from Bournemouth on a five-year deal, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday. Financial details of the transfer were not disclosed but British media reported City paid Bournemouth 40 million pounds ($52 million) to sign the 25-year-o Read More...