The Great Baby Bust

As shown in a recent Washington Post Storyline feature, since the official start of the U.S. economic recession in December 2007, the U.S. birth rate has dropped sharply--from 69.3 births per 1,000 women in 2007, to 63 in 2012.

This phenomenon is not unusual: lower birth rates and economic distress tend to be correlated as people decide to delay having children during tough economic times.  Not only did this happen during prior recessions in the 1970s and 1990s, for example, but the data indicate that the states where birth rates declined the most (like Arizona) were also the states that were hit the hardest by the economic downturn.

The author, Jeff Guo, further explains:
"Younger women, especially those in their early 20s, had the biggest declines in childbearing. This is in line with a long-term cultural shift. Young Americans are taking longer to settle down and start families, and the average age of motherhood has been rising along with the average age of first marriage. This recession, which has been especially hard on millennials, sharpened these trends. If you’re unemployed and living with your parents, how can you have a baby?"
Read more: resources:
Total Fertility Rate (
Fertility and Family Planning (
Family Change 1950 to 1990 (
Frederique Laubepin

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