Apéro de la Recherche - DEMO APERITIF SEMINAR

Tomáš Sobotka

Vienna Institute of Demography

"From bust to boom?

Birth and fertility responses to the COVID-19 pandemic"

31 mars 2022 - 17h00-18h15

En présentiel: UCLouvain - Place Montesquieu 1, Louvain-la-Neuve (Room LECL93)

ou via TEAMS (voir affiche ci-dessous pour le lien)

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Past economic, health and policy shocks were often associated with a downturn in fertility
rates. We use monthly birth data collected by the Human Fertility Database (STFF data series)
to analyse an early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on birth and fertility trends across 29
highly developed countries and regions. Our data cover the period through Spring-Summer
2021, corresponding to the conceptions initiated until Summer-Autumn 2020, i.e., during the
first half a year of into the pandemic.
We demonstrate that the pandemic has brought huge short-term fluctuations in births and
fertility rates. However, birth trends differed sharply during the analysed period, with two
distinct shifts observed. First, the initial pandemic “shock” resulted in a steep fertility
downturn in most countries, with the sharpest reduction in January 2021. Subsequently, birth
rates in most countries showed a surprising short-term “compensatory” recovery linked with
the ending of the first wave of the pandemic, with a small baby boom reported especially in
March and April 2021. As a result, the pandemic period on the whole did not bring a lasting
shift in fertility in most of the analysed countries.