Pandemic baby boom unexpected

Birth rates up in Norway by 4.4%; statisticians taken by surprise

a newborn baby representing the birth rate

Photo: Paul Kleiven/NTB
The first Norwegian baby of 2021, Jenny Leonora Løvåsmoen, was born at Ullevål Hosptial in Oslo.

BIBIANE PIENE
NTB

In Norway, 1,157 more children were born in the first half of this year than at the same time last year. Sogn og Fjordane county tops the list with over 37% more births.

In Nordland, people have not been lazy either. There, the number of births has increased by almost 20%. At Lofoten Hospital, they had almost twice as many births in the first half of this year as at the same time last year.

A total of 27,471 births were registered from January to June, compared with 26,314 in the same period last year, according to figures NTB has obtained from the health authorities. This is an increase of 4.4%.

Statistics Norway surprised

The increase is surprising, said demographer Astrid Syse at Statistics Norway.

“In financially uncertain times, and in times of crisis, it is rather the case that people often postpone having children,” Syse said.

Statistics Norway had expected that the trend of declining birth rates would not reverse until 2023 – 2024. Now, it seems that people have anticipated the development and enjoyed what they can in the coronavirus era.

“Given that there is so much coincidence in time, it is easy to believe that it has to do with the pandemic,” said Syse, who also points out that the average age of first-time mothers has increased.

“Maybe there are not that many who have time to wait. But it is difficult to know if the rise is just a coincidence,” she said.

Mostly in western Norway 

People in Sogn og Fjordane walked away with victory as the most productive in the coronavirus year. At Helse Førde Hospital, the number of births has risen from 363 in the first half of last year to 498 this year, an increase of as much as 37.2%.

Also in the north, many have used the corona period for family augmentation

At Nordland Hospital, the birth rate has increased by almost 20% compared to last year, UNN in Tromsø has counted almost 11% more births, while Helgeland Hospital has 9.5% more.

Birthrate fell in Finnmark

In Finnmark in northern Norway, however, the opposite is true: Here, people spent last year’s bright summer nights doing other things than having children, and the birth rate in the first half of this year fell by more than 7% compared to last year

At Innlandet Hospital, fewer children were born in the first half of this year than last year. There the number was1,252 compared with 1,330, a decrease of 5.9%.

2020 lowest ever

This year’s rise in births must be read in light of the fact that the birthrate in 2020 was the lowest ever recorded in Norway.

According to Statistics Norway, 42.8 children were born per 1,000 women, which constiuted a decrease of 2.9% from the previous year

Nevertheless, this year’s rise has already surpassed last year’s decline. Last year, 52,979 children were born in Norway, compared with 54,495 in 2019, and 55,100 in 2018.

Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall

This article originally appeared in the July 23, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

NTB

NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway

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