Child wish declined due to Covid

The number of births in Belgium fell by 2.9 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. The decline occurred in all three regions, but is more notable in Brussels (-6 per cent) and Wallonia (-3.9 per cent) than in Flanders (-1.5 per cent). Statbel reported this on Monday. Possible explanation: due to the corona crisis, people postponed their desire to have children for a while.

The drop in the number of births is especially visible between October 2020 and January 2021. After a cautious and regionally different recovery in spring and summer 2021, the number of births increased significantly in October, November and December 2021 in all three regions.

In 2021, the number of births in our country increased by 3.7 per cent compared to 2020. The same evolution could be observed in Flanders (+4.7 per cent) and Wallonia (+3.9 per cent), while the birth rate in Brussels decreased slightly (-1 per cent). Compared to 2019, this represents an increase of 0.7 per cent for Belgium.

Statbel cannot name one specific cause for these trends. "Births in Belgium have been on a downward trend for a long time. At the same time, the corona crisis has had an impact. In moments of crisis, slightly more people postpone their desire to have children. So children who would otherwise have been born at the end of 2020 were now not born until 2021," Statbel said.

Between 2017 and 2019, an average of 8.09 per cent of births were premature. That is, those born at less than 37 weeks' gestation. In 2020, it was 7.57 per cent of births and 0.97 per cent of newborns in 2020 were born before the 32nd week and are thus considered very preterm. Moderate preterm births (between the 32nd and 36th weeks) accounted for 6.61 per cent of births in 2020. This trend is more pronounced for pregnancies that occurred largely during lockdown, according to Statbel.



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