This paper examines the recent declines in period fertility in the constituent countries of the UK during the past decade and speculates mechanisms through which the COVID-19 pandemic could influence childbearing in the UK. The effects are likely to differ by age and presence of children. Considering potential forces acting on individuals at different ages and family sizes, we expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will depress fertility, particularly among younger people. Because fertility at all ages was declining before the onset of the pandemic, this could mean a further decline in period fertility to historically low UK levels. We put forward a number of scenarios to examine the possible impact of the pandemic on numbers of live births. Our projections show that for three scenarios out of four, fertility is expected to decline over the next 3 years, leading to significantly fewer births annually compared with the pre-pandemic period.


Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Population, Space and Place published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Berrington, A., Ellison, J., Kuang, B., Vasireddy, S. & Kulu, H. 2021, 'Scenario-based fertility projections incorporating impacts of COVID-19', Population, Space and Place, article no: e2546. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2546

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Last updated: 03 September 2022
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