Google Searches for "Maternity Clothes" down 12-15% in the United States
Are people becoming infertile or are maternity clothes going out of style?
Google has a “trends” page that allows anyone to see long-term trends for a particular search term.
Since timely statistics on recent births or pregnancies are not easily available in the USA, I decided to see the long-term five-year trend for the search term “maternity clothes” (archive link). As you would imagine, maternity clothes would be sought by a pregnant woman or by someone wanting to buy them for a pregnant woman in their life. So this search is associated with pregnancies.
To my dismay, Google Trends shows searches for maternity clothes to be down in 2022 and the beginning of 2023 compared to the year before. Hm…
Is the decline real? I did some image editing and shifted the part of the curve for search trends for Jan 2022-Feb 2023, by exactly a year into the past (to the left on the chart).
In the picture above, the red curve is the 2022-2023 search trend for maternity clothes, shifted a year into the past so that you can visually compare 2022 with 2021. Shifting by exactly one year preserves the seasonality inherent in birth patterns.
We can see a significant decline starting Feb-Mar 2022. The red line (2022-23) is below the blue line (2021 - beginning of 2022), which proves that “maternity clothes” searches are down compared to a year ago.
The 2022 curve is also visibly below previous years.
What is going on? Are maternity clothes going out of style? Or, perhaps, were there fewer pregnancies in the USA in 2022?
UK Live Births Show Similar Decline
We can compare US “maternity clothes” trend with the UK births reported by the UKHSA in their vaccine surveillance reports. The latest report shows births by month for 2021 and 2022. Our friend, The Naked Emperor, worked hard and plotted UK’s 2022 births vs. previous years. He found, to his and my disappointment, that UK’s births are down 12%. Check his post out!
Here’s his chart:
Does the US chart comparing 2022 vs. 2021 searches for “maternity clothes” look similar to the UK’s chart comparing births by month between 2021 and 2022? It does look similar to me.
It appears both the US and the UK are experiencing strange and unexplained declines in fertility.
Time to start asking questions…
Should we blame climate change or gas stoves?
Well, at least they didn’t have pictures of pregnant men on the google search!!!
Great idea. Wow! Those are some superb sleuthing skills you got there.