As the world sheltered-in-place last year, many expected a baby boom reminiscent of post-World War II. However, fertility experts are scratching their heads as evidence shows a steep decline in birth rates coming out of the COVID-19 lockdowns. For example, Spain has experienced a sharp drop of 21% year over year and they are not alone.  
We find similar data in other European countries, as well as here in the U.S. In fact, a recent Brookings Institution study estimates that there could be 500,000 fewer babies born in the U.S. this year. Some now anticipate the birth rate will pick up, while others believe COVID-19 has only exacerbated a longer-term trend of lower fertility rates. Nevertheless, what is certain is that these demographic trends are crucial in determining which economies will grow and stagnate in the decades ahead.

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