THE birth rate in Spain had plummeted more than other EU countries due to the pandemic.
Economic insecurity, fear of contagion in hospitals and the closure of fertility clinics are some of the factors that have caused a fall in birth rates during the pandemic in many countries. However with falls of up to 21 per cent over the previous year, according to a study released this Wednesday, Spain has seen the biggest drop.
Demographer Tomas Sobotka, from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, said: “This negative trend is more common in southern European countries, as they are less developed states in terms of social support and with labour markets in a worse situation.”
The report has collected birth data from 15 European Union countries since the pandemic began, as well as collecting data from Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine, Russia, the US, South Korea and Taiwan, to prove that there has been a clear decrease in births during the pandemic.
“In most of the countries that we have analysed, births fell from October (2020), coinciding with the pregnancies that began with the first wave of the pandemic,” Sobotka explains to Efe.
The steepest falls in Spain were in December 2020 and last January, of 20 and 21.3 per cent, respectively, compared to the same months last year. The figures were well above the average decrease of 8.1 per cent in January in the 15 countries of the European Union analysed, figures that Sobotka himself describes as “worrying”.
However, last February the number of births rebounded in Spain and were only 4.4 per cent lower compared to 12 months ago, something that the researchers explain is due to the evolution of measures to combat the pandemic. Thus, the births of that month correspond to pregnancies that started in May, when the number of daily Covid cases began to decrease and the de-escalation plan for restrictions on the economy and mobility began.
Economic issues and job insecurity are some of the factors that have most influenced the decision not to have children, as well as the fear of infections when attending to medical check-ups during pregnancy. The analysis also points to other causes, such as the reduction in sexual relations between couples because of separation due to confinement, and the suspension of fertility treatments due to the closure of specialised clinics.
“Ultimately, the number of births in 2021 will be lower than in 2020. Up to what level will depend on the specific situation of each country,” the expert summarised.
Source: Malaga Hoy