While an earlier Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report reflected a 4% drop in U.S. births last year, newly released data shows the month of December – which was about nine months after coronavirus was declared a global pandemic – saw an 8% decline from the year prior.
“From 2019 to 2020, the number of births declined for each month, with the largest declines in December (8%), August (7%), and October and November (6%),” the report stated. “In comparison, from 2018 to 2019, the number of births declined for 9 months of the year, with declines ranging from 1% to 3%.”
The report also indicated that the decline in the number of births between 2019 and 2020 was larger in the second half of the year than in the first half of the year. When broken down by state, 20 reported declines in the first half of 2020, while 30 reported no significant change, but all 50 reported declines in the second half.
New Mexico saw the steepest decline in the second half of 2020 with 11%, followed by New York at 9%, and then California, Hawaii and West Virginia which all reported 8%. Nationwide the declines were seen across all races and Hispanic-origin groups.
Following May’s report, experts said anxiety about COVID-19 and economic impact may have played a role in whether people put off having children, but also noted that births had been falling by about 2% in years prior. Wednesday’s reported noted that work is ongoing to assess the potential role the pandemic played in the drop.
“Evaluation of trends in births by month will continue to determine whether those declines continued into 2021 or were unique to 2020 during the time of the initial COVID-19 pandemic,” the report stated.