US Birth Rate Drops as Recession Takes Hold

-- baby taking a bath - lower birth rate in the recession --It makes sense.

If people have less money, then they are less likely to welcome new additions to their family.

This played out in 2008, as the birth rate in the United States actually dropped 2% from the year before.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were a total of 4.25 million births in the United States in 2008.

This is down 68,000 from the year before, and breaks a multi-year trend of steadily increasing birth rates in the United States.

According to the New York Times, the birth rate in 2009 is declining "even faster" than the year before.

Don't believe that this trend is tied to the recession?

Well, here are a few things to consider:

1. Birth rates fell the most in states that had the largest increases in unemployment rates.

2. Birth rates also fell during two other periods of economic distress in the United States (Great Depression and Arab oil embargo in the '70s).

Given the recent trend of large numbers of males being laid off, lower birth rates make even more sense.

In many American families, the woman is now the primary breadwinner as the man struggles to find employment (or stays home with the kids). Many American families simply can not afford to take a maternity leave at this point.

The obvious reason for the drop in birth rates - many families just can not afford to welcome a "bundle of joy" to the family at this point.

Kids are expensive - clothes, food, toys, etc. etc.

With the dramatic declines in the stock and real estate markets, steadily increasing unemployment numbers and lower consumer confidence readings, many families just don't feel as though they have the funds to support another addition to the family.

It's very likely, given this recently released data, that we won't start to see a rebound in the US birth rate until 2010 at the earliest.

Source: New York Times - Birth Rate is Said to Fall as a Result of Recession

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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