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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Lots of factors to consider when making life decisions

The pandemic has brought about a baby bust, not a baby boom, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal last week. (Courtesy Photo)

I know several people who are pregnant currently and my Yahoo celebrity news updates seems to be filled with pictures of baby bumps.

Despite forcing people to stay at home, the pandemic has brought about a baby bust, not a baby boom, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal last week.

“The Brookings Institution estimated in December that, as a result of the pandemic, 300,000 fewer babies would be born in the U.S. in 2021 compared with last year. That estimate is based on survey evidence and the historical experience that a one-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate reduces the birthrate by roughly 1 percent,” the Journal article from March 4 stated.

This surprised me at first glance. But then thinking about it, it didn’t.

My initial thought were people were forced to stay pretty much inside for two months last year.

And it felt like things were life and death.

You would think that there would be more babies as a result of these factors.

That thought would be a wrong one.

Maybe the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt is true.

Again, people were forced to stay at home for months with the same faces with no relief from work or school or socialization.

So then I looked at divorce rates.

But a January 15 Forbes article stated “divorce rates dropped in all but one of the states, declining by 36 percent in New Hampshire and 21 percent in Missouri.”

The Forbes article used data from a Bowling Green State University demographic study that researched data from Arizona, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire and Oregon.

Are people staying together for love or due to financial insecurity?

Maybe both.

There are many women who have children and are forced to choose between work and caring for their children and overseeing their remote learning due to schools being closed or in a hybrid mode.

Fortune magazine reported on February 13 that “in September, when schools resumed, many of them with remote learning, 80 percent of the 1.1 million people who exited the workforce were women. In December, women accounted for all of the net job losses, while men achieved some job gains. Today, unemployment for women remains 1.9 percentage points above the pre-pandemic level.”

Read that again.  All the net job losses from three-and-a-half months ago were women.  

It seems like there are some couples who are staying together for financial reasons and for the benefit of the care of their children.

So is it that couples cannot afford to have children? Or is something else that is causing the decline in the birth rate?

I think like many major decisions, it is a combination of things.

Major life decisions are not made based on one factor.  It is usually many factors that contribute to which house is purchased, which job offer is accepted, whether to say yes to a marriage proposal, whether to end a marriage or give it another shot and whether it is time to bring a new life into this world.

It shows that people are weighing all the options before having children.  

Or maybe the offerings on Netflix were too enticing last year to allow the birthrate to remain the same.

Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette.


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