Krystof Zeman , Vienna Institute of Demography
Tomas Sobotka , Vienna Institute of Demography
The COVID-19 pandemic, that hit severely Europe since March 2020, seriously affects all aspects of social and economic life, including fertility. It has been documented that nine months after the pandemic outset, in December 2020 to February 2021, the monthly number of births fell in many European populations. However, more detailed data by age of mother, birth order, and other characteristics are needed to get deeper insights about the impact of the pandemic. Our paper presents the first evidence on birth trends in Austria, Czechia and Spain, based on finer-grained birth data. Our hypothesis, that more vulnerable population groups have been more affected by the economic uncertainty and by the policies to curb the spread of the pandemic, was partially confirmed. The deepest decline of fertility was recorded among youngest women, while fertility of women at age 25–34 was not affected. In Austria, the decline in fertility was clearly more severe among foreign-born women than among native women. In Czechia, there was a decline in births to low and middle educated mothers, while the numbers were increasing among tertiary educated. Results concerning the birth order are inconclusive. So far, we do not have enough data to draw robust and significant conclusions. In the next step we will collect more recent data to gauge the full impact of the pandemic and subsequent recovery. Analysing timely data by further characteristics is important for understanding the impact of the pandemic on level and timing of fertility.
Presented in Session 19. Flash Session: Fertility and the COVID-19 Pandemic