Bring on the babies: A strong recovery in 2021 will mean the 'pandemic baby bust' might not be as bad as we thought

Bring on the babies: A strong recovery in 2021 will mean the 'pandemic baby bust' might not be as bad as we thought
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  • In June, economists at the Brookings Institute predicted that the pandemic would lead to a "baby bust" — or decline in birth rates — of up to 500,000 fewer babies.
  • In an update six months later, authors Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip Levine believe that the bust will actually be closer to the lower end of their predictions, coming in at only 300,000 less babies.
  • The lower estimate is due to a quicker-than-anticipated economic recovery.
  • An analysis by the coauthors found that "a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a one percent drop in the birth rate."
  • The expected percentage increase in unemployment rate has changed from initial projections; the coauthors write that they expect it to come in around 5.5% instead of around 7 to 10%.
  • However, there are still a few factors that could lead to a larger baby bust, according to the report.
  • The strain of ongoing school closures may dissuade families from having more children.
  • Less socialization also means that, potentially, fewer child-bearing couples will meet and procreate.
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