New data on U.S. births suggest that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a smaller-than-expected baby bust.
The U.S. saw about 7,000 fewer births through the first nine months of 2021 compared with the same period the year prior, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The numbers reflect conceptions that occurred roughly from April through December 2020, a period that includes the first part of last winter’s Covid-19 case surge, which started in October 2020 and waned by February 2021.
The pandemic has killed about 0.9% of Americans over age 65, and it has also reduced the number of babies born in 2020 by 4%, to 3.6 million, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
That’s the biggest drop since 1973, when fear of overpopulation led many U.S. mothers to give up on the idea of having more than two children.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was scheduled to release the census it conducts once every decade in early April. But in mid-April a government spokesperson said publication of the census had been delayed for an unspecified length of time to allow for “more preparation work.”
China still has not indicated when it may release the report, according to Chinese media.
But on Wednesday, the Financial Times, citing “people familiar with the research,” reported that when published the census will show that China’s population was smaller in 2020 than it was in 2019, the first year-on-year drop in over five decades. In 2019, China reported that its population surpassed 1.4 billion people for the first time, up 4.67 million from the previous year. This year, China’s population fell back down below 1.4 billion, according to the Financial Times.