Birth of the COVID Generation?

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The effect COVID-19 has on current generations could potentially define them.

With five months of 2020 in the books, COVID-19 has etched itself into history as a defining feature of the time period, raising a question: with people sheltering-in-place, could there be another baby boom from current generations?

An increase in birth rate is worth speculating about today when drawing parallels to the post-World War II baby boom, as many couples reunited (or even got together) after the war.

According to an article from Khan Academy, Baby Boomers hold the record of having over 4.24 million babies on average every year between 1946 and 1964, and with modern rates still under 4 million, it’s doubtful a present boom would be as big — or last as long.

One can’t be too sure, though. If birthrates so much as take a break from declining during these times, it won’t seem too difficult to imagine a near-future of the remaining Boomers retaliating with a smug “OK, COVID.”

Whether it’s affection-starved people having a post-quarantine reunification, or simply many being stuck indoors for this long, a birth surge seems likely.

“I think we’ll see an uptick in newborns in the next year, mainly from how long this sheltering has been going on,” said Lodi resident and millennial Charles Blackburn. “Areas with more severe restrictions could have even more. If a baby boom does come from this, it’s going to be for the exact opposite reason as opposed to post-World War II. There, people were happy to come home. Here, people are being forced to stay home. It’s kind of like a mirror reflection where the reasoning is flipped. It’ll be interesting to see.”

Different eras bring different ways of thinking, affecting people’s reasoning, attitude, and motivations.

Older and younger generations have their differences, but soon the old may soon see the young as more than just “attached to their phones.”

“If there’s a large enough baby boom, I could see us [Millennials and Gen Z] being labeled as ‘the COVID Generation’, but it would have to be a significant spike in births. I can also see a trend in ill-advised pandemic baby names, like someone naming their daughter ‘Rona’ from all of this. Maybe older generations will see millennials as hard workers when looking back on this period; many younger people are helping out during this pandemic. Maybe they’ll still call us lazy. Unless there’s a second stay-at-home order, or if this one lasts through the rest of the year, then I don’t see a name like ‘the COVID Generation’ sticking around. At least, not in any official capacity,” said Blackburn.

A title like “COVID Generation” doesn’t seem too far-fetched when looking back at each generation’s naming conventions. Each generation’s name is based on their time period or what may have happened during it, like with Baby Boomers.

Millennials earned their name due to their birth range being on the cusp of the next millennium, though their alternate name was “Gen Y.”

It’s possible Gen Z (those born at the tail end of the ’90s up to 2015) could be the ones to obtain the “COVID Generation” title. 

While not flattering in the least, its only competition is “Zoomer,” which sounds suspiciously like a retort a Boomer would use.

It would be the cruelest irony if “the COVID Generation” happened mere months after the “OK, Boomer” controversy of late 2019.

In the last few years, the phrase “OK, Boomer” has been used on the internet by younger generations to mock the behavior or attitude of the baby boomer generation (or just older people in general).

The phrase’s use skyrocketed among younger generations last year.

“I have used the term ‘OK, Boomer’, but mainly as a joke between me and my friends, since we’re all poking fun at the same thing,” says Sergio Soriano, a Delta College student in the Gen Z age range. “I do think there’ll most likely be another baby boom after quarantine ends, though. Everyone’s staying indoors because of what the coronavirus can do.” 

Even those in the youngest generation can see the plausibility of another baby boom, and their concerns about the virus as a whole are just as valid as their senior generations’. 

“To experience a pandemic while having instant communication about every detail involved, I think Gen Z and Millennials are going through a very unique time in history,” said Joseph Bergos, a Gen Z Delta College student. “Hopefully it will allow us, or everyone, to be more cautious of possible upcoming viruses. Right now, concerns of another baby boom are a bit valid. People are forced to stay at home, some with their significant others and little to no work. This can lead to other in-home activities. Then again, society has become keener on using birth control. I think there’ll be a slight increase in babies being born, but not a huge enough leap for it to be considered a ‘baby boom.’”