Decline of marriage, divorce, birth and immigration
Rise of mortality
The economic crisis and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has had negative repercussions on the Lebanese situation. Thousands of institutions have closed down, tens of thousands of employees have been laid off, the commercial activity has shrank by 45% and the purchasing power has declined as a result of rising prices and the collapse of the exchange rate of the lira against foreign currencies. Among the social repercussions was the increase in mortality rate and the decline in the marriage, divorce and birth rates in 2020 compared to 2019 and to the average rate of past five years (2015-2019).
As shown in the following table:
-Marriage rates have decreased, respectively, by 13.5% and 17.9%.
-Divorce rates have declined, respectively, by 11.1% and 9.8%.
-Birth rates have fallen, respectively, by 14.5% and 16.2%.
- Mortality rates have increased, respectively, by 8.7% and 13.8%.
Consequently, it was not surprising that people refrained from getting married, divorce cases decreased and the number of births declined. The spread of COVID-19 virus has also increased the number of deaths, causing many women to stop getting pregnant for fear of COVID-19’s impact on pregnancy and childbirth.
A table showing marriage and divorce contracts and the numbers of births and deaths during 2015-2020.
Source: Information International based on the figures issued by the Directorate General of Civil status.
For several years, Lebanon has been witnessing a significant increase in the number of Lebanese travelers and emigrants who fled the economic situation and the lack of jobs in search of opportunities and a better future. Another reason for this increase was the worsening security situation. Lebanon has seen in 2020 an economic collapse and a limited security deterioration. Yet, this time, the number of emigrants and travelers has declined due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The countries have closed their borders and airports for Lebanese travelers as a result of the economic decline caused by the pandemic. Moreover, the economic and banking decline witnessed by Lebanon has deprived hundreds of thousands of aspiring emigrants and travelers of access to their funds. Figures indicate that the number of emigrants and travelers has dropped from 66,806 in 2019 to 17,721 in 2020, a decline of 49,085 persons or 73.5%. They were 33,129 persons in 2018 and 18,863 in 2017, meaning that the number of emigrants and travelers in 2020 was roughly equal to their number in 2017.
Going back to the number of emigrants and travelers in 2020 and their distribution over the months, we can see that 27,207 persons have returned to Lebanon in the first eight months of the year. However, from mid-August 2020, possibly as the result of Beirut port explosion on August 4, the number of emigrants and travelers started to rise, reaching 22,114 until mid-September and 13,463 until mid-October, bringing the number by the end of 2020 to 44,928, with a sum total of 17,721 persons.
The high numbers recorded in the last four months of 2020 may be an indication of a further increase in 2021.