Friday, August 7, 2009

U.S. Birth Rate is Falling

From today's New York Times...

For the first time since the decade began, Americans are having fewer babies, and some experts are blaming the economy.

“It’s the recession,” said Andrew Hacker, a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York. [snip]

In 2007, the number of births in the United States broke a 50-year-old record high, set during the baby boom. But last year, births began to decline nationwide, by nearly 2 percent, according to provisional figures released last week. [snip]

Historically, birth rates have fluctuated with the economy. Record lows were recorded during two economic crises: the Depression in the 1930s and the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.

**UPDATE, AUG. 7, 2009**

A nice chart from Carl Haub and the Population Research Bureau (July 2009).

Click to increase the size.

The U.S. fertility rate has been around 2.1 for about 20 straight years - a remarkable stretch of stability overall. Obviously, in light of the economy and today's report, it seems likely the number will dip below 2.0 and remain there for at least the next several years (a la the 1970s).



Jesse Davis said...

Interesting indeed. As I understand it, the birth rate among whites and most black commuinties has falling off for a while, but the Hispanic birth rate has more than made up for the losses. Maybe we should look there for our answer. Perhaps the economy is keeping the "visting" workers' families at home and outside of our statistics. That or white DINKYS are finally having so few kids that the Hispanic births don't make up the difference anymore.

Todd White said...

That's an interesting theory. I read an article about a week ago that said that illegal immigration was down 60% compared to last year because of the economy.