Shrinking US birth rates could have ripple effect for decades to come


“A lot of people speculated at the beginning of the pandemic that we would see a spike in birth rates as a result of the lockdowns without much to do,” said Janna Johnson, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “The reason why the pandemic likely led to lower birth rates is it was accompanied by a lot of uncertainty: uncertainty about the economy and in this case, uncertainty about health.”

A map from the University of New Hampshire showed 25 states had more deaths in 2020 than births. Wisconsin is one of them. 

“It’s going to happen overall in the whole United States eventually as well. So I think it’s just a matter of time until we see it here in Minnesota, as well in other states,” said Johnson. 

Fewer babies will affect everyone’s wallet — no matter if you’re a mother or not. 

“We’re going to have a greater need for providing health care for older folks. We may have eventually have a shrinking workforce, in terms of number of young people entering the workforce may not be enough to keep up with the number of retirements,” Johnson said. 

A shrinking workforce could eventually mean higher taxes. And some experts have even predicted that new-mom and baby products could get more expensive as companies work to make up the loss in profits. 

It will be determined in the next few months whether the data changes after the height of the pandemic this fall.

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