STOCKHOLM, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Childbirth in the spring of 2022 in Sweden reached the lowest level in more than two decades, according to figures issued by Statistics Sweden on Sunday.
Between January and April this year, 1.57 children were born per woman, compared to 1.69 children in the same period last year, the figures showed.
"It is a surprisingly sharp drop in the statistics," Gunnar Andersson, a demography professor at Stockholm University, told Swedish Television on Sunday.
When people were homebound during the COVID-19 pandemic, childbearing increased to 1.69 children per woman, but during the first four months of this year, the number of births dropped to 35,467 babies, according to Statistics Sweden. This was 2,483 fewer than the figure in the same period last year and also the lowest level recorded in the past 20 years.
"In the short term, there can be random variations such as observed in January. However, the level has since been significantly lower than previously," said Andersson.
Andersson said the sudden drop in the fertility rate could be connected to the mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 that began in the spring of 2021.
"Many realized that this was the end of lockdown and working from home, and returned to normal life," Andersson said.
In the late 1990s, an average 1.5 children were born per woman, Swedish Television reported.
"In the 1990s, we had an economic crisis, and fewer people chose to have children," Andersson said.