Births Down for the Second Straight Year


Like all recessions, this one seems to have lowered birth rates in America. The birth rate in 2009 was 13.5 per 1000 people, the lowest in a century. The number of births was down 2.6% from 2008 which in turn was lower than in 2007 (see graph). Such a decline looks insignificant on the graph to the right but it is important to remember that since the population is growing the number of birth rates should be increasing steadily if there were no change in birth rates. It's also important to note that the decline in births over the course of the 1960s represents simply the end of the baby boom and a return to normal birth rates.

Experts attribute the decline in births to the fact that many are loathe to have children in difficult economic times and due to a decline in immigration to the United States. Yet, even as a other countries have suffered similar circumstances, birth rates are not falling universally. Germany and France have seen their birth rates rise in recent years, albeit from substantially lower baselines. The fertility rate in the United Kingdom is the highest in nearly forty years.

Despite trends in different directions, the United States has very high birth rates compared to other rich countries, as well as the world's largest number of immigrants, so most believe that the sort of demographic decline affecting countries like Japan or Italy is not a threat to the United States.
SSDAN Office

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