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Covid continues changing life love and death

As an Australian right now, by and large it might feel like COVID has mostly come and gone (FINGERS TOES ARMS AND LEGS ALL TIGHTLY CROSSED). But what are the potentially long lasting impacts it is having on some of life's fundamentals?



Image Source: Photo by Krissara Lertnimanorladee on Unsplash


BIRTHS AND POPULATION NUMBERS


MIGRATIONAL IMPACT

The strict closing of borders meant that many people returned to their countries of origin, and it of course meant that immigration into Australia has stopped since this time as well.

In fact, more people left Australia than entered it between July to September last year, meaning that Australia experienced its first population decline in over a century - since World War 1 in 1916.


Thanks to migration - our population fell by 4,200 people, or 0.02%


Because migration plays such a significant part in Australia's population growth this has significant flow on effects for the future:


"By 2030, around one-million fewer people will be calling Australia home than we would have seen otherwise," demographer at the University of Queensland's school of earth and environmental sciences Dr Elin Charles-Edwards said.


BIRTHS

The pandemic has also slowed the rates of babies born to Australians already here.


In the 12 months to September 2020 there was a 3.8% decrease in the amount of births.

"The birth rate is a great indicator of the health of the economy — when couples are healthy and confident about their short and medium term future, they're more likely to decide to have a baby," said Michael Gannon; Perth based Obstetrician.


"When people are afraid for their jobs or afraid of the viability of their businesses, they might be more inclined not to have children."



DATING


As COVID forced many of us to bunker down with our current partners - single people were basically forced to put any potential dating on hold. A few interesting (US-based) stats for you:


45% of single people agree that ‘finding a long-term mate is more important now than before COVID’.

Only 19% of singles disagree. Notably, more males than females agree with this statement (51% vs 40%).



27% of single people would prefer to be with a less-than-perfect partner over being alone during COVID (35% of single men agree compared to 23% of single women. 49% of singles would prefer to be alone.



60% of 45-54 year olds are not dating in person vs 39% of 18-24 year olds.



MARRIAGES


Not only did COVID dampen dating, it massively reduced weddings as well


The number of marriages registered in Australia dropped from 113,815 in 2019 to 78,000 in 2020

All states and territories had decreases, with Victoria experiencing the biggest hit at 41.7% (dropping from 28,577 marriage registrations in 2019 to just 16,636 in 2020); with the longest lockdown this is no great shock.


While it won't cancel out the deficit of last year, there will be a rebound reaction, with a prediction of 160,000 marriages in 2022.


With the pandemic shaking up the way many people celebrated their big day, the question is whether the impacts of these changes will have a lasting effect too. Smaller groups, more intimate and more individual are some of the lasting impacts that could occur post-COVID.



DEATHS


With the pandemic significantly changing the way that people were able to hold events and interact, the way people mourned was changed also.


Zoom funerals and an inability to see our loved ones in the same ways we were previously able, has been another push towards an online community for those that are experiencing grief.


Griefcase is an Instagram page which takes user submissions on the topic of grief and publishes them to share with others who might have shared experiences and benefit from the ideas that those closest to them might not understand. In regular times it also hosts IRL meetups, which changed to Zoom due to the pandemic, and broadened to include people from all over the world, diversifying the cultural experiences of death too.


The Grief Gang is a podcast, was created by 23yr old Amber, when she lost her own mum and was looking for help. Amber has used the podcast to interview people who have experienced the loss of a baby, partner or friend, to name a few.





Only time will tell the truly lasting impacts on all elements of our lives post-pandemic






Zara Cooper







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