Recession May Mean Fewer Babies

Dec 15, 2008 4:19pm

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting take on these tough economic times.  Looking at the past as an indicator, American couples will likely hold off on making babies.  Research shows a direct line between economic downturns and the nation’s fertility rate.

Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times:

"Many economists fear the current recession will become one of the worst since the Great Depression. When that hit in the 1930s, the birthrate plummeted. And the effects of having fewer people in the workforce rippled through the economy two decades later.

"If you can’t pay your mortgage, the last thing on your mind is to have another child," said Dr. Khalil Tabsh, chief of obstetrics at the University of California, Los Angeles, who expects to start seeing a drop in pregnancies.

Baby booms and busts are reliable, if lagging, economic indicators. For three-quarters of a century, economic downturns have led to declines in the U.S. fertility rate, which – at about two children per woman – is the highest among rich nations. The fertility rate hit its post-World War II low of 1.7 in 1976, after an oil shortage and a severe recession.
Many economists fear the current recession will become one of the worst since the Great Depression. When that hit in the 1930s, the birthrate plummeted. And the effects of having fewer people in the workforce rippled through the economy two decades later."

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