The number of births in the country has fallen slightly since the start of the pandemic, according to Statistics Canada.
In fact, 2020 ended with 358,604 births from coast to coast, 13,434 fewer than the 372,038 births in 2019.
Although the birth rate is not a new phenomenon in Canada, it is the largest annual decrease (3.6%) since 2006. This decrease in the birth rate is observed across Canada.
Several factors could explain this sharp decline, according to Statistics Canada. The decline in international migration, school and daycare closures, job losses, and financial uncertainty – all elements exacerbated by the pandemic – were specifically mentioned by the organization as explanations.
“A similar decrease in the number of births was also observed in many other countries from 2019 to 2020. For example, the United States reported a 4.0% decrease in the number of births, while England and the United States reported a 4.0% decrease in the number of births. Its study, published last Tuesday, found that the number of births in Wales reported a decline of 3.9%.
Everywhere except the hospital
Moreover, although the number of births outside of hospitals is still marginal, it has increased over the past year from 6,484 in 2019 to 7,606 in 2020.
The fear of going to hospital with COVID-19 patients may have influenced many in their choice of place of birth.
This type of trend is not new and has been seen in previous disease outbreaks. According to the Ontario Midwifery Association, there was an increased demand for midwifery attendance for home births during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Toronto in 2003,” according to Statistics Canada.
Among the provinces most affected by this statistic, Ontario (3,187 in 2019 and 3,861 in 2020) and Alberta (1462 in 2019 and 1,853 in 2020) are the two provinces with the highest number of out-of-hospital births. in more than a decade. British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan also saw sharp increases.
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