To estimate the importance of an event in a society, one can observe demographic curves. If the impact of Covid-19 on deaths has been examined closely and day by day since the start of the health crisis, the way in which it disrupted births is less easy to establish and requires more hindsight, namely the nine months of a pregnancy. Yet he is also eloquent.
What do the birth figures for July 2021 published by INSEE on September 2 tell us? They make it possible to specify that the first confinement of March 2020 constituted a very significant shock on the birth rate, but it was also quickly amortized. In July 2021, as many babies were born as a year earlier, an average of 2,120 per day.
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Also, after a succession of decreases and increases observed since January, when we “smooth” the figures of monthly births, over the first seven months of 2021, 1960 babies were born on average every day in France, a decrease of 2% compared to the same period of 2020, further decrypts INSEE, which therefore does not observe a massive drop-out at the end of the period. These results will nevertheless have to be confirmed in the coming months, by those who will correspond to the designs carried out during the second containment.
The birth calendar strongly impacted
Concretely, until now, the curve of births month by month presents, in 2021, an atypical profile. Indeed, while in general, this one forms a regular dome, culminating in the summer, the most fertile period, the curve of 2021 is abrupt. It starts, in fact, from a very low point in January – where the largest drop in the birth rate since the end of the baby boom in 1975 had been observed – to reach the 2020 curve in the summer. the number of children is therefore the calendar of births that “Was very strongly impacted”, confirms Isabelle Robert-Bobée, head of the demographic surveys and studies division at INSEE.
It also follows, nine months later, the calendar of successive confinements and deconfinements. Thus, after three months of collapse in December 2020, January and February 2021, which correspond to a drop in conceptions during confinement from mid-March to mid-May 2020, the number of births increased in March and April 2021. “Without doubt, there was then a catch-up effect, resumes Isabelle Robert-Bobée, couples who had a child project during the first confinement, from mid-March 2020 to mid-May, postponed it by a few months, due to the climate of uncertainty at the time. There were fewer births nine months later, at the start of 2021, but some of these births did take place a little later, with a catch-up effect, in March and April 2021. “ Then the birth figures returned to their long-term downtrend, losing “From 1 to 2% in May and June, as we have seen for six years”, resumes the analyst. Finally, the number of conceptions rose in early fall 2020, before the second confinement.
A variable decrease depending on the region
Another interest of the figures put forward by INSEE is to show how the concern and the Covid crisis were not experienced in the same way everywhere in France. Indeed, the drop in births is very variable from one point to another in the territory. If in January 2021, the drop reached – 17% in Île-de-France, – 16% in Burgundy and Hauts de France and – 18% in the Grand Est, this is also where the catching up was least strong . “The decline remains more marked in these regions than in the others, with – 3 to – 4% of births on average over the first seven months”, resumes Isabelle Robert-Bobée. Conversely, more spared regions, such as Brittany, saw the number of births increase by + 2%.