by UnHerd
Monday, 8
March 2021

First evidence from Spain: the impact of lockdown on fertility

Already low, the birthrate during lockdown fell by 23%
by UnHerd

It’s been nearly a year since western countries imposed lockdowns on their populations, and the details of its effects are beginning to emerge. A report in El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, has revealed that there was a 23% decline in childbirths in Spain for those born in December or January compared to the year before. This decline maps onto the period in which Spaniards were put under lockdown in March and April, resulting in an astonishing 13,141 babies fewer babies being born:

In those months, 45,054 babies were registered as a result of those days when the country was locked up at home, according to information from 3,929 computerised civil registries, corresponding to 93% of the population. There are 13,141 fewer children.
- El Pais

23% decline in childbirths in Spain for those born in December or January compared to the year before

Equally concerning is that the lockdown appears to have accelerated an existing downward trend in Spanish births:

The 360,617 births in 2019 were the lowest figure in the entire historical series of the National Institute of Statistics, which begins in 1941, a record that also reached the first half of 2020. Just last January, the first full month in which the consequences of lockdown can be calibrated, 6,889 fewer babies were registered in the civil registry than in the same month of 2020. The difference is notable because in January 2020, 511 fewer children were registered than that month of 2019. The fall from 2019 to 2020 was 1.7%, but the following year is 23%. That is the pandemic.
- El Pais

Nor is this decline in birthrates confined to just Spain:

“…the data agrees with what we expected and what we are seeing in other countries,” explains Diego Ramiro, director of the Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). In December, the reduction in Italy was 21.6%. In January, births fell in France by 13%. “In some states of the United States such as Florida, California or Hawaii, there have been falls from 5% to almost 20%,” he adds.”
- El Pais

And contrary to a report in today’s Times, a post-pandemic baby boom is not expected:

Ramiro does not expect a rebound when the storm passes: “Apart from the epidemic crisis, we will have an economic crisis and we have already seen the effects of 2008, which has caused a sustained decline. Now we are entering a year of hiatus and we will have the lowest fertility levels ever in Spain”
- El Pais

First-time Spanish mothers, who at the age of 32 are already delaying pregnancy due to difficult economic conditions, are now trying to delay it for another two years because of the pandemic, which makes fertility “more complicated” and limits the opportunity to have a second child.

Given that the world is suffering from a global fertility shortage, it seems like the effects of the pandemic — and specifically lockdown — are going to make the situation far worse.

Join the discussion

  • Which people are we talking about? I speak to ‘people’ and they are happy to be saved from Covid 19. If you say there is nothing to be worried about, you become a Covid denier. It is fine to have such an opinion but could a government form that opinion for everybody?
    If you look at this thing ten years from now you will see rights and wrongs highlighted as ‘history’. Here, in the middle of it you can’t be sure.
    (Just to get things straight I have always been anti-lockdown but I am surrounded by people who don’t agree with me – I am in a minority of one until I log onto UnHerd.)

  • It is really interesting in the USA. The Red State/Blue State divide is very real. I honestly don’t know how democrats can look at the South and not tell they are overreacting. I’ve never been a supporter of either party until now. I am now supporting Republicans. Considering the totalitarian embrace of big pharma and the tech oligarchs, I just can’t stomach Democratic leadership. For the first time in my life the “lesser evil” choice isn’t exactly lesser anymore. The phone call between Fauci, Biden, and DeSantis is pretty shocking if true. I believe it was reported to the public by DeSantis… so of course it depends on your political beliefs if you think it is true or not. His CPAC speech was something too…if you haven’t watched it keep in mind it came after the phone conversation with Fauci and Biden. I am in a red country in a blue state. Washington State. We are ignoring both Biden and Inslee (Our governor) dictates. Open restaurants and bars. No mask requirements but some people do wear them. I was at a place with live music this weekend. I’ve routinely been in places with near 100 percent precovid capacity. We are not following the rules here. It has been this way since they started rolling out the vaccines. I think what put people over the edge was the doubling down on masking, the fear mongering over variants, and the Pharma oligarchs insisting we still had to social distance, etc. That did not go over well at all here.

  • the longer that the elected class clings to mandates that harm people, the more intentional the results appear to be. In the normal world, when we’re doing something that ends badly, we stop doing it.

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