Report: birth rate plummets due to recession

Report: birth rate plummets due to recession October 13, 2011

A commenter in another post asked, “How is making it so financially difficult for people to marry and have kids ‘pro-life’?”  Good question.  Data just released suggests that the bad economy is forcing more people to think twice about having children.


A decline in fertility rates that began in 2008 is closely linked to financial woes that started at the same time, said a new Pew Research Center report issued Wednesday. Changes in personal income, per capita GDP, unemployment rates and claims, and state-level foreclosure rates all had an effect.

In 2007, there were 69.7 babies per 1,000 women of childbearing age. Provisional data for 2010 showed that number had dropped to 64.7.

The actual number of births from 2008 to 2009 rose only in one state, North Dakota, which also posted one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates at 3.1%.

“This does not conclusively prove that the economic changes led to fertility changes,” the Pew report said. “However, the timing is consistent with the time it might take people to act upon fertility decisions.”

Historically, there’s evidence to back up the Pew analysis.

Demographer Carl Haub said baby busts have occurred in other bleak economic eras of U.S. history. During the Great Depression, the fertility rate fell to 76.15. During the oil shock decade of the 1970s, it plunged to 64.99.

In that sense, what’s happening now is normal.

“It’s almost certainly due to a lack of confidence in the economy,” said Haub of the private Washington-based Population Reference Bureau.

Having children, he said, is expensive. You have to feed them, clothe them and send them to day care. And that’s hard when you’re without a paycheck or booted from your house.

The same kinds of trends affect European nations as well. Fertility rates plunged, for instance, in Eastern Europe when the breakup of the Soviet Union destroyed the local economy. And they are down now, amid the current crisis, Haub said.

“Unemployment is rising and the airwaves flood our living rooms and cars with one bit of scary news after another,” Haub wrote in a 2009 report predicting birth rate declines in the current recession. “Bad news travels fast and furiously these days, much more so than in the 1970s and 1930s.”

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27 responses to “Report: birth rate plummets due to recession”

  1. All more consequences of the job killing president’s agenda; no suprise here. Maybe this next election, at least the Obama lovin’ Catholics will wake up and vote for a pro life president.

  2. A truly pro-life president would be a novel experience, I’m all for it. But I’m not kidding myself that such a person could cure the world’s economic flu, or could have prevented it in the first place. The present situation was a perfect storm of things coming together, on a global scale. But the Great Depression ended, and sooner or later this one will, too. Who knows, maybe we will have another “baby boom”.

  3. This is so true. There is no confidence in the capacity to earn enough to support a large let alone a small family today. But the ever growing welfare dependent class feels free to have as many babies as they want because they are taken care of by the government. I know people who graduated from great schools but with huge debt and don’t feel comfortable having children, even though people on welfare have several.

    It is upside down.

  4. The bad economy is not the result of any “democratic conspiracy”, the bad economy is the result of democratic and republican bad decisions, of decades of unbridled expending, of enormous consumption without enough savings, of too much pork and to little work. The government is not a magic bottomless barrel where politicians can grab huge sums of money to give away to their constituents, the money has an end and it is the taxpayers money. The corporations have devoured the economy with their greed. In a sense we are all responsible, and we are also all responsible to get this house back in order. It is scary to think the kind of nation we will leave our children if this is not fixed; no wonder many won’t be having any kids.

  5. All more consequences of the job killing president’s agenda; no suprise here.

    Your hatred of Obama has destroyed your ability to see reality. I pity you.

  6. Mike I don’t hate Obama, I pray for him everyday. I hate that his job destorying policies (can you say REGULATIONS and Obamacare) and of course, his LIFE destroying policies, the latest mandatory contaception paid for by US taxpayers, regardless of our religous beliefs.

    Mike would you like me to list all of his policies that greatly increased abortion, not just in America but around the world? His first week in office he killed the Mexico City Policy, increasing abortion worldwide. And that was only the start.

    Sadly, many in this country can’t see the “big picture” of both Obama economics and his social issues/policies.

    I’m sorry this IS political Mike, political in the sense that the Obama policies are designed to do exactly what they are doing (or failing to do). Even more so, Obama TOLD us what he was going to do before he even got elected.

    The best thing that can happen to this cournty is to elect Herman Cain, a true Pro lifer, a “non-victim black man”, and a successful businessman who knows how to get jobs back, and the first to admit that we have a MORAL crisis. Time to get off the phony political correctness horse and face the music or we won’t have a country left to speak of, at least not one any of us will want to live in.

    Not that they have much a chance at this point, but Santorium and Bachman, and maybe Newt, also have strong pro life convictions. It’s all starts with life Mike, and until we get a leader who respects it (regardless if R v W can be overturned or not), good things are NOT going to happen in this country. Cain is really the only one who has the guts to cut through all of the “political correctness” crap and tell it like it is, all in Glory of God.

    Why anyone is suprised at the outcome of what we created is beyond me! If bible history has taught us anything, it’s that we get the leaders we deserve.

  7. I hope comments close on this post quickly…no new insights are going to be gleaned from throwing around political footballs.

  8. I am the most incredibly blessed mother of 7 kids. To support them, my husband is in the top 3% of wage earners in this country. That sounds like a lot, which if we were DINKS, would be. But these kids take up much of that $. We shop at thrift stores, use coupons, buy everything used. I try to not fill up our 15 passenger van. We walk where we can. We don’t take vacations, our entertainment is either free or almost free. I homeschool, parochial school is out of the question. About once every six weeks we get Chinese take out.

    Remember, we’re in the top 3%.

    Could I work? Yes, probably, but having that many kids made my working moot-as I would be paying more for their childcare the first 4 years than I would be making.

    How was our having those kids possible? The fact that when we were making close to nothing, we still had healthcare. And the fact that my husband didn’t graduate college with any debt-he qualified for a full Pell grant (which you can’t get today).

    If we didn’t have healthcare, and were paying $650 a month for 14 years on student loans-we wouldn’t have been able to afford anything-we’d probably be on welfare.

    Those two, simple security nets got us to where we are now. It’s not a luxurious life, but it’s pro-life.

  9. The economy has been going downhill for the middle and lower classes for at least the last 30 years. The economic problems have only grown more acute in the last few years. Our health care system costs twice as much as other “advanced” countries. Our manufacturing jobs have been moved to other countries. We have one of the largest gaps between rich and poor among the advanced countries.

  10. justamouse, congratulations on your seven kids. It is never easy to raise kids and it seems as if the world we live in makes it harder each year.

    However, kids are a gift from God to those who open their lives up to saying yes to God and He takes this gift given to us as serious as we do. His goal is to have you and your husband and all seven kids in heaven with him for eternity. I always heard from my grandma and mother that they wished for me to have a holy life and their eyes were always focused on heaven. I watched the wonderful first episode of “Catholicism” last night on PBS. In it, Father Robert Barron talked about God and how those who sought to know more about God viewed this earthly life as over in the blink of an eye and at 77, I cannot agree more. What we often worry about for our kids and our eartly life is a distraction from what is really important. Who would trade all the education and health and wellbeing in this life if it meant eternity in any place but heaven. Saying yes to God to allow Him to decide when our marriage should be blessed with the full faith in God to care for us in our time of need is essential Catholic teaching. He said to those who worried to look at how God cares for the sparrow. I suspect He will not be too happy with those who said no, we find it more important to have only the kids we can send to college or provide quality healthcare for in this life. We exist because God loves us enough to send His Son to earth to die for us. Jesus praised the woman who gave her last quarter she needed to have for her daily needs over the one who gave far more out of their excess.

    Jesus calls us to make the personal yes, the personal sacrifice and to place our trust in Him. He never talked about our need to petition the Roman government to collect more taxes from the rich to provide a safety net for us and ouf family. I have yet to see the gospel of big government solutions or one we allow to “separate us from out God and our faith.” Isn’t it interesting that the party who supports saying no to God with government support is also the party that supports separation of Church and State, the party of abortion, and the party of big government solutions to everything kept alive by forcing the taking from one person what they have earned to give to another, which is called stealing in many faiths. If I hire someone to come and steal half your next paycheck and give it to those I think more worthy, what is that called? If I do the same thing, but select which ones I steal from and select those who get this money by those who support my election or donate some of it back to me, what does that look like.

    We have lost our way as we get to involved in this world. It would be far better to encourage us to help each other directly and for each of us to take as much as possible to do that with a full trust in God to provide.

  11. Klaire, bashing people who are on welfare having kids is not pro-life. Perhaps you already realize that. But in case you don’t…

    Everytime someone goes on a rant about welfare babies (not a term you used, but it’s in the same neighborhood), the prolife movement gets a pin stuck in it by people who assume that prolifers don’t give a damn about the poor or their children.

    Every child deserves a right to life. Every child–regardless of her parents’ source of income or their level of poverty–is a blessing from God whom we should be ready to celebrate.

  12. Steve where in the world did I bash welfare?

    I’m talking about a 9% unemployoment rate that could easily be reversed with a few policy changes, in addition to an abortion/contraception mentality.

  13. Greta, no one is helping each other now. Not enough for everyone to ‘go off welfare’, not enough to keep people from having to go bankrupt, or loose everything over a health crisis.

    What you speak of utopian and won’t be found this side of heaven.

    And, I’m not even going to speak to the ‘suck it up’ tone of your comment.

    Let’s just presume I didn’t have healthcare.

    6 of my pregnancies were normal, with no complications.

    Looking at the webmd site, it’s 2000 just for prenatal care. So, times 5, that’s 10,000 just for the pregnancies, not the births.

    An uncomplicated vaginal birth costs 9000. Times 5. That’s 45,000. So, added to the prenatal care, that’s 55,000 all together. (A c-section will run you about 15,000, fwiw)

    Now, what if you’re being paid minimum wage and can’t afford your prenatal care? Most people making minimum wage can’t afford healthcare, so they will have to pay for the birth’s out of pocket, too. So, now they’re in the hole 11,000 for the birth of one child, and they’re making 7.25 an hour, 290 per week and I’m not even taking off for taxes, SS and such. They’re making 15,080 a year, and they just had a baby that cost them 11,000.

    How can they NOT go on welfare, WIC, or get help?

    That was a healthy pregnancy.

    Pregnancy #4 for me was twins. AND, when I was 11 week pregnant, I ruptured a disk, which left me immobile and almost needing a full colostomy. WHILE I was pregnant. I had to undergo an emergency surgery to fuse my disks. Dr.s were flown in because this is not an every day operation, and, to try and save the babies, they had to do it completely differently.

    On top of that cost, I had the cost of a twin delivery, in a level 4 hospital because of the operation and because they were twins they were expected to be premature-which they were.

    After the twins were born, our bills were WELL over 100,000.

    That’s just the kids GETTING here. That’s not the care visits, the shots, the broken bones, the crayons up the nose, the swallowed pennies, the concussions, the stitches, them getting sick (no, I didn’t make may of that up).

    That would bankrupt the average family. This is not 1950. IT costs serious $ bringing a child into this world, it’s not chump change. and if you don’t like welfare (which is helping people out) and if you don’t like universal healthcare, what makes makes me believe you would help me out personally?

    Nothing makes me believe that. Yes, everyone thinks we should all help eachother, but when the rubber hits the road and they’re asked to help eachother-no one wants to open their pocket.

  14. Klaire, the actual unemployment rate is over 16%. 9 % is the amount on file, not accounting those who have given up and aren’t collecting.

  15. Klaire, I stand corrected and I apologize for invoking your name with regard to welfare bashing. The post I was responding to was, in fact, Kevin’s (#4).

    Please accept my apology, Klaire, for pinning that on you. I’m very sorry.

  16. Uggh, I meant 5 of my pregnancies were normal.

    Barbara, you’re sweet, thank you.

    HMS, I think we all need wake up calls, me included. Lord, have mercy.

  17. Thanks Steve (20), no problem!

    Just a mouse, you more make my point. This high employment is mostly due to current policies

  18. There are of course very historical reasons for the huge increase in healthcare. Having been involved in healthcare in every way, as a patient, employee, employer, and also in working with hospitals and doctors as customers for over 30 years, I can give you a lot of reasons for these costs.

    wage and price controls in the 50’s led to employers providing health insurance. Beginning of consumers only paying a very small precentage of overall costs. If we had food insurance where we paid the first $15 for each grocery visit, you would see very little left on the shelves and the costs would be very high. Most patients want to know what they have to pay and few really know the total costs. And by the way, total cost you do see is far from what the hospital and doctor receive.

    Federal government massive entrance in healthcare with Mediare in 1965. Before everyone gets their shorts in a knot, it is the government methods to drive huge programs and to try to have ultimate control that has created much of the problems, not the fact that we should try to figure out how to get seniors care. For those bashing the insurance industry, few realize that almost all of them use the same codes set up by the government which makes each billing a nightmare. Mediare code book makes the NYC phonebook look like a three page brochure and every year it changes. One look at overall spending in healthcare and the entrance of the fed in 1965 shows that this was the major launch pad. Like social security, the original bill did not have that much in it but set upt the government for adding with every congressional session with little regard for how to pay for it. this is both parties.

    Malpractice costs through the roof especially in many specific areas such as OB. Justamouse lists some costs for OB. A huge part of that is in and around the cost of malpractice. In some states, it is hard to find a good OB as many have left the field. Most now work for the local hospital with them picking up the costs so they did not have to abandon their birth unit.

    There are about 30 more which I could easily outline. So if we are saying people cannot have kids because of these costs and others, shouldn’t we really be trying to find a way to get the spending back in line? ObamaCare did almost nothing to drive down costs but instead have caused everyone’s price for insurance to skyrocket and prices continue to rise. It puts more of our money in healthcare which was already gobbling up 1/6th of the total GDP.

    Those in congress from both parties who really understand healthcare tried to put forth major amendments over the last few years to impact this problem and the lobbyist killed every attempt. GE with Jeffrey Immelt leading Obama jobs advisors leads GE healthcare and this group is pulling in billions and fights any real change. One of snuck into the stimulus bill and pays each doctor about $44,000 for purchasing EMR software for their office and much more for hospitals. This is cash going out the door, not tax write offs for purchases for their business. GE is a major player in both the doctor and hospital EMR business and were invited in to help write the overall program. Of course GE also is huge in CT and MRI and xray and other areas of healthcare. Nice to see that after this stimulus bill, GE decided to send their xray division to China…But maybe instead of fixing these problems by demanding that government shrink and be more accountable, we just surrender and have less kids…but then what happens when we do not have enough tax payers to prop up the ponzi programs of social security and mediare?

  19. Post after post on blogs like this I read the comments and become thoroughly depressed 🙁

    Brava justamouse for the reality check. I have two children. My husband earns decent money for our area and I work part time. We make ends meet and that’s it! So I can absolutely understand the concerns people have about bringing more kids into the world.

    I work in our local parish and day and daily we have people calling and visiting our office in dire need of financial assistance. Many of them are on govt assistance and they still can’t manage and in desperation they seek out anyone else that can help. Of course some of these people are in this position because of less than stellar decisions and hopefully they will receive financial counselling that may help – that is when those agencies clear the backlog of hundreds of families that are wait listed for financial counselling services.

    In the position I’m in I also hear so many complaints from those in the pews that our churches are always asking for money. They ask for money to fund the various parish and diocesan services that reach out to those in need among other things. When those funds don’t come in – we are powerless to help in any meaningful way.

    So, if individuals aren’t helping – directly. If they’re not heeding Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned. If they’re not contributing to their church efforts to do all of these things on their behalf – then where else can people turn to for help?

  20. Greta, you’re still not telling me how you are going to help anyone. Legislate and…. do what? What until then? You’re saying we should all help eachtother, and then you answer with how insurance needs to be regulated (by the way I see it). Fine, but what until then? What’s your boots on the ground answer?

  21. IMO, one shouldn’t intentionally bring a child into the world if it isn’t possible to feed, clothe and shelter the child. As has been brought out abundantly in the posts above, kids are expensive before birth and after. My husband and I have 2 now grown children, born in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I didn’t start to work until the 2nd one was in school. Many folks now need the 2nd job (my son and his wife included) to make ends meet. Our grandson is in an excellent daycare–but inorder for that to happen we help them with the expense. No, kids aren’t cheap—-so lets hope things improve so couples can have children they may want but right now can’t afford—literally.

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