Covid baby boom apparently over: Fewer babies born

The baby boom believed to have been caused by the coronavirus crisis seems to have ended in the first months of this year. About as many children were born in January, February, and March as in the years before the pandemic. In April, the number of births was even remarkably low, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) confirmed after reporting by De Gelderlander.

Over 53,000 babies were born in the first four months of 2022. In 2021, almost 57,000 children were born during the same period – a remarkably high number compared to previous years.

CBS sociologist Tanja Traag suspects that the 2021 birth rate was so high because of the coronavirus lockdowns. Couples who were on the verge of starting the family, but put it off for a while, thought it was a good time to start having children, she expects. Traag spoke of “lucky births” because couples spent more time working from home and could better combine work and life. 

That trend now appears to have reversed. About the same number of children were born in January, February, and March as the average in the same months from 2015 to 2020. About 12,800 children were born in April, compared to an average of about 13,500 in the aforementioned years. According to Traag, it remains to be seen whether this will continue.

There are several reasons why the number of births has returned to normal this year and was even lower in April, the sociologist said. Firstly, people are going back to the office now that the contact-limiting measures have been lifted. But the current economic uncertainty and tightness in the housing market can also mean that couples are putting off starting a family. 

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