The virus has created a baby bust.

Source: Richard Moorhead

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly decreased new births in the United States in the year 2020, setting the country back demographically in an era where annual births are already at record lows.

The Wall Street Journal cited research conducted by the Brookings Institute which projected the United States would have more than 500,000 less births in 2020 than it did in 2019.

The think tank has forecast between 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births in the U.S. next year, compared with a drop of 44,172 last year. Its analysis, partly based on what happened following the 2007-2009 recession, is that weaker job prospects equate to fewer births. “Women will have many fewer babies in the short term, and for some of them, a lower total number of children over their lifetimes,reported the WSJ.

Births in the United States had already reached record lows in 2019, and stand to be much lower this year because of the virus. The Brookings Institute is basing their projections on the aftermath of the 2007-08 Great Recession, and points to damaged economic prospects for women from the virus as a critical factor in dissuading families from having children.

Liberals generally oppose the notion of pro-family natalist policies to increase the U.S. birth rate. Potential solutions could include funding fertility treatment for those seeking to conceive, paid family leave, tax credits for the parents of children and subsidized childcare.

It’s likely the drop in birthrates will reverberate in years to come, potentially creating demographic problems for America, which already isn’t producing enough new babies to create a sufficient societal, labor and tax base in future decades.