Experts think the UK's post-lockdown baby boom will beat the post-war one

By Sarah Wilson
Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 11:00 am
A quarter of respondents said they wished to have children in the next two years (Photo: Shutterstock)
A quarter of respondents said they wished to have children in the next two years (Photo: Shutterstock)

New research has suggested that the end of lockdown restrictions may create a baby boom big enough to match the one that happened at the end of World War Two.

The research by Opinium, commissioned by Starling Bank, found that as many as 1.9 million UK babies could be born in the two years following the end of restrictions, if respondents follow through with their stated intentions to start a family.

A quarter of 25 to 40 year olds responded to the research saying that having children is now more important to them than it was prior to the pandemic. Over half of those who wished to "fast track" life goals in the wake of the pandemic said they intend to have children during the next two years.

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If these respondents follow through with their desires to start a family in the next two years, the number of children born would equate to 950,000 babies per year - just over the 900,000 born in 1946 after the war's end.

In comparison, there were an average of 650,000 babies born each year between 2018 and 2019.

More likely to buy homes, get married and have kids post-pandemic

Experts are predicting that 2021 will see the lowest UK birth rate since records began thanks to the pandemic, but some believe that, as life returns to normal, pent up demand for starting a family combined with changed priorities could see a surge in the birth rate towards the end of the year and during 2022.

Previously, experts had predicted that the March 2020 lockdown would lead to a wave of so-called 'coronababies', but this has not occurred at a great scale.

Official figures on babies conceived during this time are yet to be published, but the number of pregnancy scans carried out 12 weeks after the March 2020 lockdown was found to be one per cent down on the same period in 2019.

Baby booms are relatively common after tragic events, with the death of Princess Diana creating an increase in births nine months after the event, for instance.

Dr Ian Pearson, the author of Society Tomorrow, told the Times: "The pandemic has made everyone much more aware of the economic and emotional stability and security offered by home ownership, marriage and having children.

"As indicated in this research, I expect we’ll start seeing evidence in the next year or two both of this new mindset and the priorities shift on births and marriages."