Why COVID-19 crisis will slash birth rate

 

Couples working from home may have more time for canoodling but an expert has warned Australia's birth rate will decline as a result of COVID-19.

Demographer Dr Liz Allen says history shows people are less likely to have children in a period of uncertainty and scarcity.

"When basic needs can't be met by a simple visit to the supermarket, it changes the way people think about having babies," she said.

"People might be getting sexy indoors but it's unlikely a bump in births will be realised beyond trend expectations.

"After severe events, we tend to find a decline in births - we don't see a boom."

Lack of social mixing is denying the very ingredients necessary for relationship formation, she said and unemployment means people will be unable to provide for more children.

Some medicos claim there is evidence of blizzard babies - a boom in the number of births nine months following snow storms in North America, she said.

"But demographers will tell you that based on research investigating weather events, severe

and adverse crises tend to actually result in a decline in birth rates," she said.

 

Severe events result in people having fewer babies.
Severe events result in people having fewer babies.

 

The demographer says Australia's population will be changed forever by the international border lockdowns caused by coronavirus.

"This holding pattern of closing the borders will have unprecedented generational impact in terms of economics and infrastructure," Dr Allen said.

 

 

And Australia will see migrants returning to their home countries.

"Coronavirus has created a panic that perfectly displays Australia's lingering White Australia policy effects," she said.

"The danger of politicians calling panic buying 'un-Australian', is that people might interpret that as the other - the non-locals - being the problem, and it propels racism and this idea that we should fear them," she said.

"Women will feel the impact of the coronavirus keenly as working from home and school closures blurs the lines between work, family, and social aspects of lives."

Another change will be the reinvention of family relationships in the digital age.

"Video chats with relatives, online community gaming, and e-playdates with friends are now being used to build and maintain community," she said.

Originally published as Why COVID-19 crisis will slash birth rate


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