Perturbed nuptiality, delayed fertility: childbirth effects of Covid19

Mazhar Mughal, Rashid Javed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic that merits attention is its effects on marriage and childbirth. Although the direct fertility effects of people getting the virus may be minor, the impact of delayed marriages due to the first preventive lockdown, such as that imposed in Pakistan from March 14 to May 8 2020, and the closure of marriage halls that lasted till September 14 may be non-negligible. These demographic consequences are of particular import to developing countries such as Pakistan where birth rates remain high, marriage is nearly universal, and almost all child-bearing takes place within marriage. Based on historic marriage patterns, we estimate that the delay in nuptiality during the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak may affect about half of the marriages that were to take place during the year. In Pakistan, childbearing begins soon after marriage, and about 37% of Pakistani married women give birth to their first child within twelve months of marriage. A sizeable number out of these, around 400,000 annual births that occur within twelve months of the marriage, may consequently be delayed. Postponement of marriages due to the accompanying difficult economic situation and employment precariousness will accentuate this fertility effect. The net fertility impact of the Covid-19 outbreak will ultimately depend not only on the delay in marriages but also on the reproductive behavior of existing couples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589–597
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Population Research
Volume39
Issue number4
Early online date18 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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