U.S. Women in Their 30s Are Having Fewer Babies During Pandemic
(Bloomberg) -- Women in their prime childbearing years had fewer children this year than during the 2008 financial crisis, underscoring the broad impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Birth rates for women aged 30 to 34, who previously saw the biggest increase in fertility among age groups, plummeted in 2021 as the pandemic increased economic uncertainty, according to research from the St. Louis Federal Reserve.
These women were more likely to already have young children at home and to quit their jobs to support their kid’s online schooling.
The number of children that a woman is expected to have over her lifetime increased from 1975 to 2007, hitting 2.1 that year before dropping when the Great Recession brought economic distress. It’s since further declined to a record low of about 1.6 in 2020.
St. Louis Fed researchers Oksana Leukhina and Amy Smaldone found that in 2007, women aged 25 to 29 had the highest fertility rates.
Now it’s women in their early 30s who have the highest rates, driven largely by higher-educated families with the means to get help including babysitting and housecleaning.
The pandemic had a different impact on younger women. Birth rates among women in their early 20s actually increased this year as the Covid-19 removed career prospects for those early in their work life, the researchers said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.