Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Fertility Desires in Australia? Understanding Why People Changed Their Attitudes towards Having a First or Additional Child

Ester Lazzari (Corresponding author), Anna Reimondos, Edith Gray

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


An understanding of whether and how childbearing desires have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is key for explaining subsequent fertility patterns and fertility behavior in general, but empirical information is still lacking. Using a quasi-experimental cohort design and unique panel survey data collected before and after the outbreak of COVID-19, this study examines whether childbearing desires were affected by COVID-19 in Australia and investigates which pandemic-related factors affected childbearing desires the most. Results show that parents who already had one child were the most likely to experience a decline in childbearing desires because of the pandemic, while childbearing desires were most stable among those who were childless. Economic and employment-related factors did not appear to be of great relevance in predicting changes in childbearing plans. However, changes in the quality of couple relationships and of social support from family and friends were found to be of strong importance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPopulation and Development Review
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 504006 Demography


  • childbearing desires
  • fertility
  • Covid 19
  • difference in difference
  • social support
  • Australia
  • COVID-19
  • Childbearing desires

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