It’s been roughly nine months since the pandemic stopped the world in its tracks, so what happened to the COVID baby boom we were told to expect?
Many of us assumed that with little else to do to pass the time, life in lockdown would see a spike in the sex lives of Australian couples.
Sex toy sales and dating app usage surged to record highs during this time, so the assumption that an imminent baby boom was on the horizon seemed plausible.
But a full term later, where are all the corona-babies?
Dr Liz Allen, a demographer at the Australian National University, said despite Australians having more time to practise baby making, an unstable economy and public health concerns have contributed to falling birth rates.
“People have lost their jobs, lost access to things like parenting leave. We’ve also seen difficulties in having basic needs met; there’s been mayhem in the supermarkets,” Dr Allen told The New Daily.
“This all has a psychological impact on people and feelings of insecurity and hope for the future.
“Alongside this, 2019-20 was a horror period for climate change in Australia, and more and more people are citing inaction on this important policy issue as another reason not to have children.
Housing affordability and job security are particularly precarious for young people. We’re in a perfect storm for demographic disaster.”
The demographic disaster to which Dr Allen is referring is Australia’s “low fertility”, which has seen birth rates fall to record lows.
In order for a population to replace itself, the average number of births per mother needed is considered to be 2.1 – figures Australians haven’t been able to reach since the mid-1970s.
In 2019, the average birth rate sat at just 1.66 babies per mother.
Dr Allen said if our birth rates hit 1.6 or lower, it could result in declining standards of living as the population ages and struggles to support itself economically.
“This question of socioeconomic wellbeing means that young people could potentially see their standard of living continue to be lower than generations previously, and COVID-19 has added an additional burden and uncertainty,” she said.
“Young people are really getting a raw deal.
“The nation wants young people to be the economic lifeline ensuring the country’s future, but at the same time these pressures added to existing generational inequalities might mean that young generations won’t accomplish the things we take for granted, [such as] secure housing, secure careers and family.
“Relationships do provide comfort from stress, but being stuck inside with a partner may not lead to feeling more love for them. Regardless, more sex isn’t necessarily going to result in a baby boom.”
But while many of us are refraining from procreation, it seems some of our favourite stars and personalities spent lockdown doing their part to contribute to the next generation.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is about to become a grandfather, after his fitness instructor daughter revealed her baby bump on Instagram.
Frances Loch announced she and her Olympic rower husband, Sam Loch, were expecting a child in mid-2021.
“BIG LITTLE BABY LOCH,” the 29-year-old wrote on Instagram.
“Joining the party Summer ‘21.”
The exciting news comes after the Lochs swapped sunny Sydney for Portland, Oregon.
This will be the first child for the couple, who wed on Valentine’s Day in 2018 after a three-month romance.
In fact, the pair had only been dating for two weeks when they became engaged.
“Two weeks was all it took to know that forever with you was a mighty fine idea,” she wrote in an Instagram post at the time.
Up the Duff
Actor and singer Hilary Duff is expecting her third bundle of joy in 2021.
The 33-year-old is already mum to two-year-old daughter Banks with husband Matthew Koma, and eight-year-old son Luca, who she shares with ex-husband Mike Comrie.
Duff made the announcement in an Instagram post in October.
“We are growing!!! Mostly me…”
Bindi Irwin made fans feel incredibly old when she announced she was pregnant with her first child, a baby girl, with long-time love Chandler Powell.
Irwin and Powell shared the news with fans in August 2020, just a few short months after their wedding on March 25.
The couple held up a tiny Australia Zoo uniform in an Instagram post to her 4.3 million followers.
“Baby Wildlife Warrior due 2021,” she wrote.
“Chandler and I are proud to announce that we’re expecting! It’s an honour to share this special moment in our lives with you.”
A little pebble …
Emma Stone, 32, is another A-lister due to become a mum in early 2021.
The La La Land actor has been notoriously tight-lipped about her relationship with Saturday Night Live writer Dave McCary, who fans believe she secretly wed in 2020.
Though neither party has formally confirmed the pregnancy, Stone was snapped cradling her burgeoning baby bump on December 30.
This comes after she mysteriously dropped out of a feature film with Brad Pitt supposedly due to scheduling conflicts.
And as all parents know, there’s nothing like a newborn baby to wreak havoc on your schedule.
Emma Stone was spotted on a walk in LA 🤰😭 pic.twitter.com/Xqh2waC0Vf
— best of emma stone (@badpostestone) January 4, 2021