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Kearney NY Times Op-Ed examines 'baby bust'

300,000 fewer births will have long-term impact

Faculty Associate Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine, Wellesley College, write that there will be no easy fixes for the significant drop in births during pandemic times. Among other considerations the researchers point to the lessons of the 1917-18 flu pandemic: "Of course, this pandemic is causing more than “just” a recession. The public health element is also likely to lead some couples to postpone or avoid childbearing. Here, the demographic history of the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic is instructive. That pandemic was not associated with a major recession in the United States, and contraceptive options were much more limited at the time. Yet, every spike in pandemic-related deaths was associated with a large drop in births exactly nine months later."

On ongoing trend to a smaller labor market could mean reduced economic productivity and reduced tax revenues, they write.

See the complete Op-Ed in the New York Times