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What were you doing during lockdown? Moscow sees Covid-19 pandemic baby boom as new data reveals births increased 48% in May 2021

What were you doing during lockdown? Moscow sees Covid-19 pandemic baby boom as new data reveals births increased 48% in May 2021
In the first five months of 2021, there were 15% more babies born in Moscow than the same period in 2020, new data from Russia’s statistics agency Rosstat has shown, also revealing that births in May alone jumped by 48%.

The new figures, published by Moscow business daily RBK, also showed that, in the first five months of the year, both marriages (31.8%) and divorces (220%) saw a significant increase.

According to the latest statistics, in 2021, January, March, April and May saw more babies being born than in the same months in 2020. The most significant jump was seen in May (+48%), while February (-3%) was the only month to see a slight dip. 

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The increase in births will be good news to those worried about Russia’s declining population. Last year, according to official figures, the number of people permanently living in the country decreased by 510,000 in just 12 months, as a result of both a drop in the birth rate and increased deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The rise in births was also confirmed by Mark Kurtzer, the general director of the Mother and Child clinic, a popular chain of clinics in Russia. “I think the quarantine has played a positive role," he told RBK. "People were going out less, restaurants and bars were closed, and husbands spent more time with their wives."

However, according to Irina Kalabikhina, the head of the Population Department at Moscow State University’s Faculty of Economics, Moscow's increased birth rate is due to the desire of wealthy families from other regions to go to the capital to give birth. 

Last year, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed the country’s population issues on two “demographic holes” that are contributing to the decline in citizens: the ripple effect of the loss of life in the war against Nazi Germany, back in the 1940s, and the lack of children born during the 1990s. In 1999, Russia’s birth rate had dropped to 1.16, even lower than it was during World War II.“Do not forget that our country lost 30-something million people during the Second World War, and we have few(er) women who can bear children,” Peskov told Kommersant FM.

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