Pregnancy and Birth Rate Declines in Weak Economy
The US birth rate is expected to decline in the face of a weak economy, as couples postpone becoming pregnant until they have a bit more financial stability. The severity of the birth rate decline will be directly linked to the severity and duration of the financial situation.
Birth rates do tend to drop in times of economic uncertainty. There was a dramatic decline in fertility rates following the Great Depression in the 1930s, when, for the first time in U.S. history, women went from having an average of three children the previous decade to two.
In each year after the country’s last four recessions, general fertility rates — calculated as the number of women of child-bearing age per thousand who gave birth — dipped slightly. For example, in the year following the 1973-1975 recession, fertility rates dropped from 68.8 in 1973 to 65 in 1976, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Similarly, following the 1980-1982 recession, the fertility rate fell from 68.4 in 1980 to 65.7 in 1983.
As a result, doctors are receiving more inquiries about birth control options, and seeing a decrease in new pregnancies.
Without a doubt, in good economic times or bad, raising a child is an expensive proposition. According to “Expenditures on Children by Families,” an annual report put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a middle-class family making more than $77,100 will spend nearly $300,000 raising a child from birth to age 17 — and that doesn’t even take into account college tuition or inflation.