Too Broke for Babies: US Birth Rates Drop Because Money’s Tight

In addition to the unemployment rate, the US birth rate is also down. The rate has been dropping for four years; this year’s decline is more modest one percent. Previous years have seen declines in the two to three percent range.


Why are women not birthing more babies? Because the economy makes it prohibitive.

“The theory is that many women or couples who are out of work, underemployed or have other money problems feel they can’t afford to start a family or add to it,” writes The Washington Post.

The report, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that the birth rate for single women fell by three percent, the rate for married women is up one percent, and the rate for African Americans is down two percent. That last figure is far less than the six percent drop for Latinos, but the figure for whites stayed the same and for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders went up.

Good news: the rate for teen pregnancies has hit a low of 330,000, the fewest since 1946.  One expert, John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health, suggests that seeing older siblings and others struggle with having babies at a young age could be influencing that number.

Finally women in their 20s are having fewer babies (that rate is down five percent), the rate is the same for women in their early 30s and is up for women over the age of 35.

Separately but related, we wrote about a report yesterday that says babies are being born with debt. Times really are tight.

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