Baby boom or rise in divorce levels? Experts’ post-lockdown predictions

Image of an umbrella in the rain. Credit: Brian A Jackson/

Lockdown has forced the nation to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week together – with experts admitting there are no certainties but the effect is likely to be more divorces rather than a baby boom.

THIS some say is as a result of living together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unprecedented in 99.9 per cent of households.

Alfredo Rodriguez, professor of psychology at Madrid’s public research university, UCM, said there is no clear certainty, “and even less about what the immediate future will look like.”

But there is evidence that after traumatic events, the number of marriages, births and divorces increases, he claims.

Rodriguez says the data suggests that a life-changing event drives people to take significant action in their daily lives and close relationships.

“However, we are facing an unprecedented situation and this pandemic is something unknown in that it is something persistent over time, and massive geographically. Therefore, venturing what will happen is uncertain,” Rodriguez told Vanguardia.

In addition, once the health crisis is over, the economic crisis will have to be taken into account, which is why Rodríguez is inclined to think that “we will see an increase in divorces as a result of the stress of being confined to our spouses for so long.”

In Rodriquez’s opinion, “this is already reflected in our daily lives, where we see an increase in divorces and couple problems after long periods of living together such as holidays.”

Other professionals believe a baby boom is unlikely as couples cooped up for weeks on end begin to see flaws they may not have noticed before.

Psychologist Leopoldo Ceballos says “all couples who were already united in a precarious way, have now faced the common life, which was previously avoided due to work, sport or social life.

“They are now living together in one house, trying to support each other until the end of the quarantine.”

But this isn’t to say the opposite doesn’t happen.

“Couples come in all shapes and sizes, and the situation can affect them very differently. Even those who were very consolidated may be going through problems and couples who weren’t may be getting stronger.”

What will determine the success of a couple is the type of bond they have, according to Marta Sadurní, from the University of Girona.

She says “the secure base affective relationship will make the couple live the time of confinement as a period of possible danger and vulnerability, and this will activate in an almost automatic way the need and the mutual capacity of protection, of care of the other.”

Asked if there will be a baby boom after lockdown, Rodriguez of UCM said he’s “not so sure that [the confinement] will positively affect the birth rate.”

He said “considering that people are waiting longer to have children and having fewer and fewer, it seems unlikely that this pandemic will increase the birth rate,” since it is closely linked to “economic uncertainty.”

Furthermore, the pandemic may reinforce a decision not to have children at the moment.

Meanwhile others, say the state of tranquillity and satisfaction that will be felt once freedom is regained may result in desired and even unplanned pregnancies on a rational level.

Well-structured couples are apparently the ones with the best chance of future pregnancies, but it will depend on their finances “and whether distance measures and hygiene protocols have affected their sexuality and daily loving contact,” concluded Rodriguez.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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