Study says COVID cut births in New Hampshire more than in any other state

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 06-07-2024 9:45 AM

The uncertainty caused by the arrival of COVID reduced births by a greater percentage in New Hampshire than any other state, according to estimates in a just-released study.

The study by the Brookings Institution, based on data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control, estimates the effect of COVID by comparing the number of babies born in December 2020, who would have been conceived as lockdowns began in March, against births in December 2019.

It found that births in New Hampshire fell by about 16%, more than in any other state. This happened even though New Hampshire’s rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 was average,  indicating that many parents delayed having children not because they were sick but because of economic uncertainty.

Nationally, births declined the most among older women and more educated women. New Hampshire’s population is older and more educated than that of most states.

Despite this decline, births actually fell less than expected based on data from previous economic shocks, the report said.

"A one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a 0.5 percentage point reduction in the birth rate. Strikingly, this is half the size of the relationship observed from the Great Recession. We speculate that the unprecedented government response, including the CARES Act, dampened the relationship between the unemployment rate and fertility behavior," the study said.

The study also said that the COVID baby bust should be considered in the context of a continued decline in U.S. birth rates. “The hundreds of thousands of fewer births occurring every year over this period, with no obvious reversal in sight, has far greater long-term implications for society than the COVID baby bust.”

The report can be read at Brookings.edu.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Opinion: A look at the Elderly Property Tax Exemption
Many Hopkinton residents say it’s time to get rid of the pay-by-bag program
As Concord city council debates bus stop location, larger concerns about homelessness continue
Documents show N.H. teacher took student for abortion
State: Don’t worry about the pine trees shedding needles
Concord crew team rows its way to a national title