Empty stroller

Don’t expect a post-pandemic baby boom

Watch for a population shift after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, says Weinberg College sociologist Christine Percheski.

Percheski was interviewed recently by Chicago radio host John Howell on how the crisis will impact demographics in Illinois. One thing she’s confident about: the birth rate is likely to dip beginning in January.

“There may be a lot of divorces,” Percheski said. “I doubt there will be a lot of babies.” She added:

“People who are already parents of kids at home [are under] a lot stress: a lot of families have been hit by unemployment. This is not the time to have another baby. Plus you have all those folks who have unplanned pregnancies and births, and those are largely teenagers and young adults who aren’t married.  Those people have been affected by social distancing too, so there’s going to be fewer unplanned pregnancies from our young adults nine months from now.”

Percheski also predicted more deaths due to the pandemic, and more young people, who tend to work in hard-hit economic sectors such as retail and the food industry, moving away from Chicago and back home to their families in more rural or suburban areas.

It all adds up to a likely decline in the Illinois population, Percheski said.

Listen to the interview.