When the pandemic first hit, many joked during digital cocktail parties ???? that the lockdown would cause a baby boom and an increase in birth rates. But after a lot (too much) digital cocktail parties the opposite turns out to be true. We are heading for a baby bust (☹).

Preliminary figures, 1.035 fewer births were counted in our country in January 2021 than in January of last year, a decrease of 10.7 percent. Since the summer of 2020, births in Belgium decreased even more then the last ten years. This trend was caused by the Covid-19 crisis and its socio-economic consequences. The created uncertainty made that more young families/couples postponed their pregnancy wish. Loss of income, the fear of losing their job contributed to this trend. The unemployment rate in Belgium raised to 7.1 percent. These unfavorable prospects even lead some youngsters to choose to live longer with their parents before starting a family of their own.

Another possible cause of the postponement of “baby plans” is the high occupancy in hospitals due Covid 19. The lockdown also has limited social interaction, which can weigh on the formation of new couples and families.

Birth rates started to decline since the previous recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis. After ten years of continuous decline, Belgium had some hope that this negative trend would reverse from 2020, but then there was Covid-19…



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