How has Covid-19 affected birth rates in Norway? 

How has Covid-19 affected birth rates in Norway? 
How many babies were born in the first half on 2021? Photo: Picsea on Unsplash
Has Covid-19 led to a lockdown baby boom in Norway, or are people holding off having children until more certain times?

More babies were born in the first six months of 2021 than during the same time last year, according to new figures from news agency NTB.

A total of 27,471 births were registered between January and June of this year. 

Over 1,000 more children were born in the first half of 2021, compared to 2020, with this coming as a surprise to Astrid Syse, a demographer with Statistics Norway. 

“In financially uncertain times and times of crisis, it is normally the case that people postpone having children,” Syse said to NTB. 

“Maybe there are some who didn’t want to wait (for the pandemic to end),” she added. 

Nationally, just under five percent more babies were born in the first half of this year when compared to 2020. 

A mini baby boom may be on the cards in the north though as Lofoten Hospital registered nearly double the number of births as the same time last year. 

READ ALSO: How the population of Norway has changed in 2021

In Nordland, births shot up by 20 percent. Tromsø saw a more modest increase of just over 10 percent. Helgeland Hospital also registered 10 percent more babies being born than the same period in 2020. 

Parts of west Norway also saw a significant jump, with the people of Sogn og Fjordane having just under 40 percent more babies in the first six months of this year than the first half of 2020. 

The rest of the country saw more marginal changes, with the only outlier being Finnmark, which goes against the grain in northern Norway by witnessing a reduction in births. 

The number of first-time mothers and those who had already had a child before both increased. 

Has there been a lockdown baby boom in Norway? 

Perhaps not. This is because while births are up compared to 2020, 2020 also saw the lowest birth rate ever recorded in Norway. 

According to Statistics Norway, 42.8 children were born per 1,000 women last year, a decrease of 2.9 percent compared to 2019. 

Last year 52,979 children were born in Norway, compared to 54,495 in 2019 and 55,100 in 2018.

Statistics Norway had expected the trend of declining birth rates to continue until either 2023 or 2024. 

Syse also said that it is too early to tell whether the figures for the first half indicate a lockdown baby boom or whether it is just a coincidence.

“Given the circumstances, it is easy to believe that this is more than just a coincidence, and that the births may be linked to the pandemic,” she said. 

“But it is difficult to know whether these numbers are just a fluke, though,” Syse added. 

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