Objective: This study offers a descriptive overview of changes in fertility plans during the COVID-19 crisis in a sample of the young population (18–34) in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The data were collected between 27 March and 7 April 2020. Results: Our results show that fertility plans have been negatively revised in all countries, but not in the same way. In Germany and France fertility plans changed moderately, with many people still planning or postponing their decision to have a child. In Italy, however, the proportion of abandoners is much higher than in the other countries, and the proportion of those deciding to postpone their plans is lower. Moreover, across countries the demographic characteristics of individuals appear to be associated with fertility plans in different ways. In Italy, abandoners are common among individuals younger than 30 and those without a tertiary education. In Germany, abandoners are slightly more prevalent in the regions most affected by COVID-19. In the United Kingdom, the individuals that most frequently abandoned their fertility plans are those who expect the crisis to have a dramatic negative effect on their future income. Finally, in France and Spain we do not observe a clear pattern of revision of fertility plans. Contribution: These results suggest that different mechanisms are at work, possibly due to the different economic, demographic, and policy pre-crisis background and post-crisis prospects. Low-fertility contexts in particular appear to be more at risk of a fertility loss due to the crisis.
- COVID-19, crisis, Europe, fertility plans