CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When the pandemic forced many Americans to quarantine in their homes, some speculated we’d see a baby boom nine months later.
But the data is in with the opposite effect - at least in the Coastal Bend - where we are seeing a baby bust.
From 2020 to 2021 childbirths decreased by 154 deliveries at Christus Spohn South Hospital.
Research shows the decline isn’t isolated to the pandemic. In fact, the numbers have been declining in the U.S. since 2006,
“Its just not one of those things that I'm not prepared to do, like do I want to do that to another person?” said Eric Tinnin, who says deciding whether or not to give birth to a baby was a simple choice for her. "Who knows if we’re even going to have a job three months from now, especially after COVID-19 that took a huge toll on the economy. It's kind of just a crazy time."
A report from the Pew Research Center shows the fertility rate in the US was already at a record low before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Pew notes some reasons for the decline include more women are getting educated, putting off getting married or simply are not having sex.
Allison Apple is the administrative director of women’s services at Christus Spohn South Hospital.
“I personally think more related to economy and just job situations and family dynamics,” said Apple.
While the pandemic was declared a national emergency on March 13, that means most babies conceived after would have been born in December of 2021.
The United States Census Bureau reports from December 2019 through March 2020, birth rates were at an average of approximately 300,000 births and from December 2020 to March 2021 that dropped to an estimated average of 280,000.
“This is where any mom would come to deliver and some days you’ll see this waiting room full and other days you’ll see it less full,” said Apple.
Seeing the waiting room “less full” is a bad sign for the economy.
The World Economic Forum estimates by 2035 there will fewer working adults. That will impacts Social Security benefits for Americans.
Today’s workers are paying for today’s retirees benefits and any future workers, including those being born this year, will help pay benefits when people who are in the workforce now retire.
“We don’t want to see a decrease, we definitely want growth and an increase," Apple said.
While multiple reports shows COVID-19 is not responsible for the baby bust. haiving a baby during a global pandemic is a different experience.
Kira Marie Belew was pregnant during the peak months of the COVID-19 pandemic. She gave birth to her son in April 2020.
“My children weren’t allowed to meet the baby, my parents couldn’t meet the baby," she said. "It was just me and my husband."
CHRISTUS Spohn reports that as of Friday, 80 babies have been born this month.
“It's just one step and you get through it and you get going and at the end you have a beautiful baby," Apple said.
This trend is likely to remain. A report from the Brookings Institute found the number of births is expected to be lower than the number of deaths for the foreseeable future.