Pandemic likely led to decline in birth rates in NC, analysis finds

Pandemic likely led to decline in birth rates in NC, analysis finds

3:02pm Mar 11, 2022
About 2,000 fewer babies were born in North Carolina in 2020 compared to 2019. SETH WENIG/AP

The pandemic led to a decline in birth rates in North Carolina, according to a new analysis from the research center Carolina Demography. 

About 2,000 fewer babies were born in North Carolina in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s a decline of about 1.7%. 

Rebecca Tippett with Carolina Demography says that’s significant. But it’s not quite as pronounced as the declines seen after the Great Recession.

“That was the model that we were using to understand behavior, because it was the closest thing we had to this big economic shock on people's lives," said Tippett. "And the pandemic has been completely different. “ 

Tippett says the data indicates the pandemic may have had a much shorter impact on fertility rates, perhaps due to economic support provided by the government. 

“Because what we're seeing in the pandemic was significantly more immediate federal support in the terms of direct payments to families, extended unemployment insurance benefits that significantly buffered the economic costs of unemployment for households compared to the Great Recession," said Tippett.

Tippett notes though that data is not yet complete – there’s no word yet how the delta or omicron variants impacted birth rates. 

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