Pregnant Women Are Like Endangered Species Because of Economy

pregnant womanWe all know that the recession has kept lots of American families from living as large as they did before the economic downturn, but it looks like it's actually kept many families from getting larger as well. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the U.S. birth rate has declined sharply in the last few years, and experts suggest that the economy probably has something -- if not everything -- to do with that decline.

Um ... you think?


The decline in the birth rate, the timing of which correlates pretty much exactly to the global economic slump (dropping steadily after hitting a high in 2007), probably doesn't come as a surprise to most of us, I'm guessing. After all, we American families are only all too well aware of the costs of having children, and feeding children, and clothing children, and housing children, and educating children, and looking after the health of our children. Kids may be cheap to conceive, but they're sure not cheap to raise.

So it's certainly not hard to understand why families who are already struggling may have been reluctant to take on the financial responsibilities that come with adding a new member (let alone more) to their already stretched-to-the-max households. After all, if you don't have a job with health insurance (giving birth in a hospital is a pricey proposition) and paid maternity leave, if you're barely making enough to support the family you have, if you're worried about holding on to your house and putting gas in your car and food on the table, and if you're generally are not feeling terribly confident about the world, well, it's probably not exactly the time you'd choose to have a baby.

No, a declining birth rate during a time of sharp economic decline is no surprise. What will be a surprise, and a nice one, is when things get better, the economy takes off, and families start making babies again. What better way to celebrate?


Image via flequi/Flickr

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