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Birth Rate Falls Again: Too Few Babies for the Economy?

Posted by on Aug. 8, 2011 at 4:15 PM
  • 9 Replies



By BLAIRE BRIODY, The Fiscal Times


The birth rate has declined for a third year in a row, according to figures released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another sign that the recession has pushed the birth rate down to alarming levels. A falling birth rate, combined with women waiting longer to have children and the ever-increasing cost of raising a child has many experts wondering if the U.S. is headed for the same aging crisis that has hit Japan and many European countries – where a tiny workforce is supporting a large aging population and straining social programs to their breaking points.

Babies – Expensive, Intrusive and Too Few for the Economy
For many couples, the recession has curtailed their dreams of having more children. When she was younger, Andrea Hoffmann’s dream family consisted of three children, each two years apart, two girls and a boy. She’d work from home in their three bedroom home in a quaint New Jersey suburb, her husband commuting to New York City. She’d have it all — the house, the husband, the fulfilling career, and a bustling household of children playing tag in the manicured front yard. But last year, Hoffmann’s dream evaporated. After much deliberation, the Hoffmanns decided they couldn’t afford a third child. They could barely afford the two they already had.

Whether it’s hospital costs, diapers, day care, or the ever increasing cost of a college education, children are expensive, and getting more so. Due to the recession, couples are starting to consider the financial realities having a family — for many, that means downsizing or skipping out on baby-making altogether.

Three Strikes Against Children
The birth rate has dropped over 7 percent since before the recession when the birth rate was holding steady. There were 64.7 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age in 2010, down from 69.5 births in 2007. If the downtrend continues, it could create a small workforce supporting a large aging population with less revenue for the expensive tax-funded social programs seniors depend on.

In addition to the rising costs of children, women are marrying later and waiting longer to have children, lowering their chances of conceiving, and facing staggering fertility treatment costs when they get there. With all these forces compounding, it’s possible the birth rate will continue to fall even after the economy recovers — a shift that has undermined the social systems and economies in many developed countries, including Japan and Italy. Right now, the birth rate in the U.S. appears to be teetering on the edge of a cliff, ready to nosedive at any moment.

How Much Is That Baby in the Window?
In 2009, the Department of Agriculture estimated the total before-college cost of raising a child was $286,050 — about $11,700 per year today, and $21,600 a year by the time they’re 18. With college, the cost nearly doubles, not to mention the costs many parents face during a recession, when their college grad shows up at their doorstep expecting to move back in. Housing and child-care were two of the biggest expenses, 31 percent and 17 percent respectively, and 50 percent higher for those who live in urban areas. The U.S. is becoming more urbanized every year — 90 percent of the population is expected to live in cities or suburbs by 2050. For a newborn in New York City, the average family spends up to $16,250 per year on child-care alone.

Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc., writes, “From the moment the self-pregnancy test confirms the happy news, the sales pitches begin: a shower of catalogs hawking the very best in organic onesies; lavender-scented diaper creams and designer rubber duckies; a never-ending cascade of DVDs and baby classes that promise to make your child smarter, socially adept and bilingual before age three … Time-strapped mothers and fathers are the perfect mark for the mammoth ‘parenting’ industry.”



I've been reading more and more that people of all ages are waiting.. and I think the should.. in away .. I mean the cost of living going up and you never know what's going on with health insurance..


How do you feel about this? and does it affect your family and having another child?

by on Aug. 8, 2011 at 4:15 PM
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Replies (1-9):
sheri305
by Bronze Member on Aug. 8, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Wow,Im glad we arent planning for anymore.The kids we have already are expensive enough.

Dannille33
by Bronze Member on Aug. 8, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Exactly..

I think though that a person can still have a child but they can't go all out.

I mean really if you think about it .. many of us had children and we managed because we didn't use new, and we also used alot of used clothing. Many people / parents today go all out with every child. They also make sure they have the latest and best because the child wants that.

Sadly it will get them in the end.. .. As for me.. I still cut corners and find great buys..

My kids and those that go to school with them never know that alot of their clothes are just great buys.. :) or like new. It's all in how you are a smart shopper ..and how you conserve!

Quoting sheri305:

Wow,Im glad we arent planning for anymore.The kids we have already are expensive enough.


singlemomof2nok
by Bronze Member on Aug. 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

 I kinda agree with it, but it wouldn't prevent me from having another child if I wanted one

owensmom34
by Bronze Member on Aug. 9, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Well, we are done having kids but I don't think it should prevent anyone from having a child.  All my kids were brought up using resale shops, rummage sales and hand-me-downs.  It can be done for a lot less money.

aneela
by Bronze Member on Aug. 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM

i have one and one is enough

JasonsMom2007
by on Aug. 10, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Yep


Quoting owensmom34:

Well, we are done having kids but I don't think it should prevent anyone from having a child.  All my kids were brought up using resale shops, rummage sales and hand-me-downs.  It can be done for a lot less money.


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Liansmommie
by on Aug. 10, 2011 at 1:33 AM

It was hard enough to get the one we have. We decided long ago to let nature decide and this wouldn't keep us from having another if it came up.

lalasmama2007
by on Aug. 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Wow...in my area it seems like EVERYONE is pregnant.  I know over 20 couples who had a baby or are expecting this year. 

usmclife58
by on Aug. 10, 2011 at 11:41 AM

It does not really affect us as we are not planning another right now anyway. But I have always heard "If you wait until you can afford a baby, you will always be waiting". 

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