Less Than 500 Babies Born Last Year In Bermuda

January 26, 2022 | 16 Comments

[Written by Don Burgess]

Less than 500 births were recorded last year, marking the first time in at least 20 years — and likely much more — the birth rate has dropped to under 500.

The available statistics online from 2000 onwards show a continued decrease in births, with around 760 to 830 births recorded per year from 2000 until 2010, and a continued decline from 2010 to 2020, with 2021 seeing the number of births decline to 491.

chart of bermuda birth rate 2000 to 2021

Statistician Cordell Riley said Bermuda already had a declining birth rate, but the pandemic most likely accelerated the trend. He noted that predictions of a baby boom from the pandemic did not pan out because people felt a high degree of uncertainty.

“If you are at home and unemployed, the last thing you want to have is another child,” Mr. Riley told Bernews. “A number of people would have thought about that and said ‘no’, or taken the necessary steps of not having a child.

Bermuda births statistics chart Bernews 2022 (3)

“When people are uncertain about the economy, that partially impacts the declining birth rate. If you are unsure of your future, you are going to say, ‘Why should I bring another child into this world because I can’t afford to take care of that child properly.’”

Mr. Riley added people going to live in the UK also was a cause for the declining number of births.

He said looking at the aging population and the trend of declining births, that ultimately means the Bermuda population is shrinking. Mr. Riley added that for a population to remain steady, not counting for immigration and emigration, it needs to have a 2.2 replacement rate for births, but Bermuda’s has fallen to 1.9.

Bermuda births statistics chart Bernews 2022 (4)

“There are less children being born and there are less marriages.”

Mr. Riley pointed to 2017, where he projected a significant shift when the senior population overtook the youth population. “There is no reason to believe that didn’t happen. Look at 2018, when the number of deaths and the number of births was on par, then in 2019, deaths overtook births for the first time. So all the indicators are that Bermuda has a declining population, which has major implications with regard to health care, with taxes, particularly in regard to school closures and things that cater to younger people. This has major implications.”

Bermuda births statistics chart Bernews 2022 (1)

He said the problems with taxes then become “Do you take more money from people who can afford it?” or start finding new sets of taxes on electric pedal bikes or taxing homeowners on the rents they receive? Mr. Riley suggests that taxing electric pedal bikes would bring far less revenue than taxing rents.

“If you’re looking at taxing electric pedal bikes as a new form of revenue, then you have to look at where the bigger fish are, and fish in those waters as opposed to these waters.”

Mr. Riley also pointed to a flat tax or income tax as a way to raise revenue but said income tax would add a costly layer of administration with it.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Mr. Riley added that for a population to remain steady, not counting for immigration and emigration, it needs to have a 2.2 replacement rate for births, but Bermuda’s has fallen to 1.9.”

    We did it to ourselves, driving all those horrible foreigners away from Bermuda just before the market crash of 2008. Now we are reaping what we have sowed.

    • Jerry says:

      I am an expat and so many of our friends have left the island. People who put real value into the island; school fees, rents, restaurants, supermarkets.

      The number 1 reason? Impossible to lay down roots (short of vast sums/huge amounts of time).

      If you want people to stay, make it easier for them to stay!

  2. Double S says:

    It amazes me how all of a sudden PLP reps, supporters and talking heads understand the dangers of a falling population and the importance of immigration.

    Amazing what an election can do to one’s views. Amazing and sad.

  3. m. Symonds says:

    Why would anybody want to have a child in this expensive country ! its ridiculous.
    i don’t blame anybody for leaving this country to have a better life. when the Government isn’t taking care of its own !

    • question says:

      in addition to falling births i would greatly appreciate the GOVTS honest and if possible collaborated number of people that have left Bermuda in 2 categories Bermudians and Guest Workers/ExPats

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Given the outlook for the future of Bermuda, very dismal, why would a young couple even consider having children? Without any real reason to put down roots & stay they are more than likely looking at packing up & leaving rather than stay put on this corrupt broke rock.

      Every week there is a new scandal revealed confirming that all of those young couples who have left made the right decision. Along with young couples leaving there are seniors leaving, taking their pensions & day to day buying power with them. Those not leaving permanently are finding ways to be living off the island for large portions of each year getting a much better bang for their meager pension buck.

      How many have departed in the past 25 years? How many have started families in their new homes?

      Back in 1998 who would have imagined that in 2022 Bermuda would be in the situation that it is in today?

      • I understand Why says:

        Yes, couples like myself are considering and trying to have babies but there is no support.

        Insurance companies do not support fertility treatments, there is no testing process for families to determine how fertile they are. All these treatments have to be done overseas. They are expensive.

        Then there is the issue of delaying pregnancy until you are somewhat financially stable because of the ridiculous costs of starting a family in Bermuda. These costs include insurance coverage, food, daycare/nursery, housing, transportation, etc etc etc. I completely understand why so many people are delaying starting a family, only having one child or none.

        The issue of low birth rates is not one only for the Government, insurance companies, doctors, daycare, grocery stores, landlords and private business play a part.

        This is a huge issue for Bermuda and one we must discuss and address before it’s too late.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “the Government isn’t taking care of its own !”

      Are you sure about that? From my perspective it looks like the Government is taking care of its own and we are paying for it!

  4. Concerned L says:

    Have they looked at how many terminations aka abortions have occurred? Are those usually published?

  5. Just Saying says:

    Just curious, what’s the death rate?

    • Bernews1 says:

      According to the Digest [same documents we extracted birth data] from 2000 to 2019 it was around 400 to 530 per year. We are trying to get 2020 and 2021 figures to do a follow up on this, aim is to have a new chart later on with more information.

  6. dwbi says:

    bring back traditionalism. I was the most effective way. Now I have to work with coworkers that cant lift or always have to complain to management.

  7. sandgrownan says:

    Birth rates are declining everywhere in the “developed” world, whatever that means.

    In the UK, 50% of women reach the age of 30 childless.

  8. Coach says:

    One MIGHT think that it took 2 and a half terms in Government for the honeymoon to be over and many became less optimistic in the future so didn’t feel secure having more babies after 2008..
    November 1998 the PLP won their first election and made promises of prosperity for all Bermudians all while finding ways to get guest workers off the island..
    Looks like the loss of guest workers having babies here combined with the loss in confidence MIGHT have caused these numbers to drop..

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