ROME – Angela Di Iorio wanted to get pregnant with her first baby today. Instead, the 36-year-old Italian, who has only postponed his wedding for the second time, begins to wonder if he has a child at all.
“It was always our plan to get married and then start a family,” said Ms. Di Iorio, a Roman chiropractor whose fiancé has been out of work for nearly a year since a common gym was forced to close due to measures to stop the spread of Covid-19. “We no longer have the stability that my partner and I have worked so hard to achieve. And I’m getting older, “he said.
One year after the pandemic, early data and surveys suggest that many developed economies from the U.S. to Europe and East Asia have infant busts, often with declining birth rates.
The combination of health and economic crises is forcing many people to postpone or abandon childbearing plans. Demographers warn that the decline is unlikely to be temporary, especially if the epidemic and its economic consequences drag on.
“All the evidence points to a sharp decline in fertility rates and birth rates in developed countries,” said Tomas Sobotka, a researcher at the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. “The longer this uncertainty lasts, the more it affects the fertility rate throughout life.”