Last March, when the coronavirus outbreak took hold of public life and forced many Americans into their homes to quarantine, some speculated that more time together for couples could result in a baby boom. Now however, early data is pointing toward a significant drop in fertility directly related to the pandemic, both in the United States and globally, in the coming years.

Some have estimated that there will be close to 300,000 fewer births in the U.S. in 2021 as a result of the outbreak. These conjectures are already coming to fruition based on provisional monthly estimates. Overall, the U.S. birth rate dropped 4% in 2020 based on provisional data, and a look at December 2020 – the month when babies conceived at the beginning of the pandemic would have been born – shows an 8% decline from the previous December, suggesting that women may have postponed pregnancies in response to the ongoing public health crisis.