COVID-19 and the Future of US Fertility: What Can We Learn from Google?   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Abstract: "We use data from Google Trends to predict the effect of the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic on future births in the United States. First, we show that periods of above-normal search volume for Google keywords relating to conception and pregnancy in US states are associated with higher numbers of births in the following months. Excess searches for unemployment keywords have the opposite effect. Second, by employing simple statistical learning techniques, we demonstrate that including information on keyword search volumes in prediction models significantly improves forecast accuracy over a number of cross-validation criteria. Third, we use data on Google searches during the COVID-19 pandemic to predict changes in aggregate fertility rates in the United States at the state level through February 2021. Our analysis suggests that between November 2020 and February 2021, monthly US births will drop sharply by approximately 15%. For context, this would be a 50% larger decline than that following the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and similar in magnitude to the declines following the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919 and the Great Depression."

Report Number:
IZA DP No. 13776; Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper No. 13776
IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Retrieved From:
IZA Institute of Labor Economics: https://www.iza.org/
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