Declining Birth Rate: Another Reason to Hate the Bad Economy

Sasha Brown-Worsham

In the past year, the birth rate in the United States has fallen more than 2 percent, a fact sociologists attribute to the current state of our economy.

According to CNN:

"The birth rate is falling because of the Great Recession. When people are unsure of their financial future, they tend to postpone having children," Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, told CNN.

It makes sense. When we all feel uncertain about our future, bringing a new life into the picture doesn't necessarily seem prudent, especially when we're concerned about job security and housing costs. 

Guess all those people having recession sex were using protection after all ...

The U.S. birth rate has been on the decline since the recession started in 2007 and Cherlin predicted that when the economy picks up, births will as well.

This isn't the first time the country has faced a decline like this. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, roughly 20 percent of women never had children.

I relate.

We had our first child in January of 2007 and our second in August of 2008. Nearly four years later, talk in our house has been heating up around the idea of a third, but we lack the space.

Because our upstairs neighbors defaulted on their home loan, our property value has fallen so much that we would lose a lot of money on the sale of our condo. In other words, we are trapped. Additionally, my husband was laid off for a few weeks last year and although he did get a generous severance and found another job quickly, I was a stay-at-home mom at the time and we used some of our savings. It's taking us some time to catch up on those losses.

In an ideal world, now would be the time for a third, but for us, it will be a couple years. I know I'm lucky to have the luxury of time to make these choices, but it's still disappointing to make a decision based more on economics than on what we actually want and envision for our family.

It's also possible that in two or three years, we will be so far out of the baby phase we don't want to go back. If that happens, the recession will be the reason we had a smaller family than we planned.

Is the recession affecting your pregnancy or desire for another one?


Image via Sasha Brown-Worsham

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