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No Baby Boom: California Reports Steep Birth Decline During 2020

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A baby wears a Halloween outfit. <A HREF="https://unsplash.com/photos/9_3V4UgCvVM">Omar Lopez/Unsplash</A>
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At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, some wondered whether a baby boom would be inevitable. But research is showing that it may be a baby bust instead.

In a study released early in the pandemic, one-in-three U.S. women said that because of COVID-19, they wanted to delay having a child or have fewer children. A year into the pandemic, those changes in women's preferences are becoming evident.

Nell Frizzell, author of "The Panic Years: Dates, Doubts, and the Mother of All Decisions," said it's not hard to imagine why the current times may be throwing a wrench into plans to start or expand a family.

“Even the risk of adding to the burden on our overstretched health service with another pregnancy feels like something I'm not necessarily comfortable to do,” she said.

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Plus, giving birth during the pandemic might mean having a different type of labor than at other times.

“I have so many friends who have now had their little lockdown covid babies,” added Frizzell, “and some of them had to give birth on their own.”

Some states are reporting steep declines in births during the same month compared to prior years. According to data provided to CBS News, birth rates in California fell by 10.2% between Dec. 2019 and Dec. 2020 — down from 36,651 to 32,910.

However, the state’s birth rate has been declining for several years; officials reported decreases in births in both 2019 and 2018.

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