COVID Made Worse by Disintegration of Family

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by Juliana Freitag  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 19, 2020   

Study: traditional 'familial structure' would have mitigated impact

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MADRID (ChurchMilitant.com) - A study recently published by the Demographic Observatory of the University of San Pablo (CEU) in Madrid — largely ignored by the mainstream media — reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic wouldn't have caused nearly as much damage as it has if Spanish families still abided by traditional family standards akin to the Spanish demographic patterns of 1976.

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The University of San Pablo

The analysis, titled "Coronavirus y Demografía en España" concluded that "if the same model of fertility and familial structure had been kept, our society would have been much less affected, both in absolute terms and in infection and mortality rates."

This was the very first study launched by the recently-founded observatory, established in the beginning of 2020. It's mission is to:

present in an intelligible manner the complex psychosocial mechanisms behind the evolution of demographic phenomena, in order to warn Spanish society of the shortcomings entailed by the increasing reduction of the number of children ... [and] to carry out several investigations to raise awareness about Spain's concerning demographic evolution.

As Madrid was one of the regions in the world most affected by COVID-19, the research deemed relevant examining the mismanagement of the crisis in the country along with its wide-ranging consequences:

Not only has the virus taken away hundreds of thousands of lives, it has also wrecked the economy, inflamed politics and destroyed the prestige of those in charge of safeguarding world health. To solve this problem, it was undoubtedly necessary to have a team of competent experts available, which our government couldn't, or wouldn't, obtain.

The work of CEU was directed by Professor Joaquín Leguina and coordinated by demography professor Alejandro Macarrón Herrán. Leguina, a politician and experienced demography professor, is a member of the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) and has worked closely with the French National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED), the United Nations (U.N.) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


Observers note that Leguina is an active member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, suggesting it's unlikely the conclusions of the research could in any way be conservatively biased.

If the 1976 family structures had been maintained, today's Spain would have 20 million more citizens under the age of 40.

Professor Macarrón presented the study as:

a projection analysis of what would have happened if women kept having children at the same 1976 rate [2.8 children per woman]; if we had maintained the same family structure, when almost everyone was regularly married and there were almost no separations or divorces; and if most of the elderly had lived at home with children and grandchildren, as was done back then.

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Professor Joaquín Leguina

In its introduction, the study affirms that even though "this is a theoretical exercise, the results obtained are of clear-cut eloquence."

Lower Death Rate, Better GDP

One of the project's findings was that:

If the 1976 family structures had been maintained, today's Spain would have 20 million more citizens under the age of 40. That would have substantially changed the course of the pandemic ... as a younger population would have had much lower infection and mortality rates and would not have weighed heavily on the national health system.

The burden of 20 million additional young people would be practically insignificant, adding to a small increase of 4% in hospitalized patients (the data used for the projections were the official statistics of the Spanish Ministry of Health) and approximately 0.4% more deaths. Therefore, death per million inhabitants would plummet 30%.

The addition of the working-age population would also mean that Spain would be "a more vigorous and powerful nation in the international sphere, with a higher GDP and more optimistic prospects for the future," the study noted.

Fewer Elder Deaths, Less Loneliness

Had the more traditional pattern been predominant, there would also be a reduction of 50% in the number of elderly people living in nursing homes, which would have greatly limited the outbreak among the elderly, consequently lowering the death toll for the higher-risk population.

Take Madrid, for example, where the number of elderly in nursing homes before the pandemic was 52,000 (against 7,000 in the early '70s). By the beginning of May, 7,547 of them had died, 77% of them due to COVID-19. By the time the study was released, more than 19,000 elderly in nursing homes had died in Spain, a mortality rate 10 times higher than the rate of elderly who lived at home with their families. The study concludes that the lives of nearly 10,000 elderly could have been spared simply because they'd be living at home close to their loved ones.

The study also estimates the effects a more family-oriented society would have had on people's psychological condition. With a 1976-type family structure, where only 2% of the population lived alone, a much smaller number of Spaniards would have spent the quarantine in solitude.


Spanish daily ABC called the coronavirus pandemic the "the epidemic of loneliness." Nowadays 11% of the Spanish population lives alone, which amounted to almost 5 million people having spent the quarantine all alone, triggering an upsurge of psychological problems that governments all over the world have completely failed to address.

According to the demographers, it is "scientifically proven that a large and well-structured family manages this type of situation much better. If the Spanish families had been those of 1976, society as such would have withstood the impact of the pandemic much better — from working remotely from home to supporting the education of children."

Threat: 'Demographic Suicide'

One of the aftermath effects of the pandemic goes in the opposite direction of the study's recommendations: searches for legal counseling regarding divorce and separation increased in Spain during the coronavirus crisis. Even though Spain is currently the third country with more divorces in the European Union (according to Eurostat, 57.2% of Spanish marriages end up in divorce), the trend had been slowly declining for years, with 2019 being the fifth consecutive year of decrease in marriage dissolutions. The pandemic managed, in just a few months, to reverse the trend.

Professor Macarrón is adamant that "a healthy demography is the foundation of a healthy society. The birth rate should be one of our main concerns."

Spanish daily ABC called the coronavirus pandemic the 'the epidemic of loneliness.'

Although the researchers acknowledge that a cultural shift which prompts Spaniards to embrace the 1976 family standards is very unlikely, they insist that government leaders should "have their eyes fixed on it so we can work to partly recover [these customs], because otherwise, we'll have an aged society, with very few youth and a lot of loneliness."

They continue:

Keeping a constant fertility rate of 2.8 children per woman permits a positive growth of the population and it's much inferior than the historical Spanish average of five children per woman or more. We need to study what to do to motivate families to have more children: tax relief, economic support measures for motherhood and the family, aid to businesses to promote motherhood and so on. On the other hand, we must also rethink the policy of abortion and free contraceptives and study why people are afraid of marriage and parenting.

Incorporation of women in the job market is another factor that would render it impossible to completely return to more traditional ways of living. But even the minority of women who choose to stay at home to take care of their families (in Spain they have twice as many children than those working outside the home), is "chastised by the State," says Macarrón.

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Julio Loredo leads the Italian Society for the
Defense of Tradition, Family and Property

"Tax incentives are only granted to working women. Other than being discriminatory, this is terrible for birth rates. The State should at least be neutral," he continues. "If nothing is done to increase the number of children per woman, which is the only factor we can actually change, we'll follow in this death spiral that will lead to demographic suicide."

Immigration 'Not the Solution'

The professor also discards immigration as the solution, unlike globalist institutions who have obstinately pushed for carefully tailored immigration guidelines for decades, not only presenting immigration as inherently good, but also as the only possible solution to the problem of countries with aging populations and low birth rates.

A famous U.N. study, for instance, concluded: "While below-replacement fertility is the major cause of population decline and population aging, even a sudden sharp increase in fertility in the short- to medium term would not substantially alter the situation."

The work in "Coronavirus y Demografía en España" also analyses the impact immigration has had in Spanish demography, and their conclusions are the opposite of those of the U.N.: "Immigration is a palliative. It can't solve any problems and it doesn't stop the aging of population. Immigration is not the solution," Professor Macarrón declared.

Julio Loredo, president of the Italian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property — and the first person to translate the main findings of the study into Italian — commented: "These are sensible words that, for this very reason, I doubt will find space in Italian newspapers."

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