OPINION

Live Mic: No baby boom in December, after nine months of lockdown?

Mar 3, 2021, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:53 pm
baby boom...
25th January 1945: A staff nurse with some new arrivals at the Queen Charlotte Hospital, London. (Photo by Reg Speller / Fox Photos / Getty Images)
(Photo by Reg Speller / Fox Photos / Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — There has been no dramatic increase in the number of babies born (or baby boom) in the United States as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, there has been a decline in the birth rate.

That’s one of the conclusions made in an exclusive report by CBS News. They gathered hospital data from more than two dozen American states and based on that data they reported a  7% drop in the number of births in December of 2020, nine months after COVID-19 lockdowns in many states began.

Why, when people were more often in close quarters for extended periods of time, wasn’t there a baby boom?  For clarity, Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry spoke with Pam Perlich, Director of Demographic Research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.

Concern was the greater motivating factor

While people were in closer proximity for longer periods of time, worry about the unknown took precedence over creating another member of the family. 

“When the news first broke, we didn’t know what this thing was,” Perlich said. “We didn’t know how long it would last.

“So there was a lot of angst. A lot of anxiety.”

Watching the death toll reports from Italy, and then from New York City, added to the angst.

“So it wasn’t like a snow day, or a snow week, or a power outage,” Perlich said. 

Instead, the pandemic caused people to wonder and to worry about the future and what it might look like.

A baby boom could still happen

The numbers gathered by CBS reporters may not tell the complete story. We may have a different picture when we look at the American birth rate in January 2021, representing what Americans were doing in April 2020.

By that time, we knew a little more about COVID-19.

“My suspicion is that we’ll see this tanking of births for a few months,” Perlich told Lee Lonsberry, “and then there will be some resumption in people having children as it became clear that this is going to be a one-and-a-half to two-year event.”

The bigger story may be a decline in fertility rates

Even if there is a boost in births next month, as Perlich expects, a bigger issue when looking at the American population may be a continuation of a declining fertility rate.

“Those continue a long march downward,” she told Lee.

According to the CBS report American women are now predicted to deliver 2 babies on average. That number was closer to four in the 1950s.

Perlich said that, along with choosing education or work before having a family, there is a new factor adding to the reasons that women put off having children.

“There’s a cost side to the story now,” she told Lee.  “Having kids becomes a much more expensive proposition than, say, for baby boomers.

“The real cost of housing has exploded. The cost of quality daycare has become insurmountable for many people.”

You can listen to the entire segment below.


 

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

 

 

Today’s Top Stories

Opinion

From "The Story of Change" told by citizens...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: We are citizens, not consumers.

Because we act like consumers, we stand at a distance, judgmental and opinionated, but never about our own role.
20 days ago
Follow @amandadickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Is Democracy on the ballot?

At its core, what is our democracy based on? The USA believes in the integrity of the vote and the peaceful transfer of power that follows.
27 days ago
snow memories...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: As winter approaches, I ask, ‘What are your snow memories?’

As the first snow of winter begins to fall in Salt Lake City, KSL NewsRadio host Amanda Dickson recalls her memories of snow.
1 month ago
View from my son's seats at the game...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: BYU fans — please don’t boo your team

Aiden's first game in a college stadium was the BYU vs. Baylor game this year. He talked about his sport-induced joy for days.
1 month ago
First day on the job. Photo, Amanda Dickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: My new side hustle — substitute teaching in Salt Lake City

I don't know when I was more nervous, the first time I ran the board at KSL NewsRadio or my first time substitute teaching 5th graders.
2 months ago
Follow @amandadickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Working Conference Weekend

Some of the weekends that I remember best and thoroughly enjoyed were conference weekends. Times were different, but the memories hold true.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Live Mic: No baby boom in December, after nine months of lockdown?