RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — The peak of the pandemic began over nine months ago and many people speculated there would be a baby boom, but doctors in the Rio Grande Valley say it was a baby bust.
Economists say higher infertility rates could be bad for the economy because without young people working there could be a gap in tax revenue.
“I think we all thought that there was going to be a really big boom,” said OB/GYN Doctor Kristy Morales at South Texas Health Systems. “But we also kinda expected the pandemic to be done at the end of this past year.”
But both of those predictions took a left turn.
“I would say for the most part it stayed pretty stable we did notice a little bit of a boom in the Christmas months but that’s pretty typical,” said Morales.
With many losing jobs, families thought twice about having kids.
“COVID isn’t making any of that any easier, you want to have children in a situation of predictability, stability, and economic security,” said Dean Spears who has a doctorate in economics and is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
However, experts say birth rates were on a decline even before the pandemic.
“Now when we look right now at COVID, that might mean that the fertility rates are falling faster than we thought,” said Spears.
Without a young population, the economy can also be at risk.
“Overall if there are fewer younger workers to support older workers then generally that’s not a good idea,” said Chinhui Juhn who has a doctorate in economics and is a professor of economics at the University of Houston.
Things like social security or pensions in the long run could take a hit.
“Then that means that there is sort of less tax revenue for those who are newly becoming old,” said Juhn.
While it’s too soon to collect hard data, experts either expect the decline to continue, or to see a delay in new births