National Partnership for Women & Families

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Poor Economy Causes Lowest U.S. Birth Rate in 25 Years

Poor Economy Causes Lowest U.S. Birth Rate in 25 Years

July 27, 2012 — The U.S. birth rate is at its lowest point in 25 years because of the poor economy and births are not expected to rebound for at least two years, according to a release by Demographic Intelligence, USA Today reports.

Since the economic downturn, the average number of births per U.S. woman has fallen to 1.87 in 2012 from 2.12 in 2007 and is expected to hit 1.86 next year.

Hispanics have had the largest decline in birth rate, dropping from three births per woman in 2007 to fewer than 2.4 in 2010.

Women of childbearing age may face economic factors that discourage them from becoming pregnant, such as unemployment, student loan debt or having to move in with their parents.

Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families, pointed out that the low rate could affect trends over the long term, saying, "The more you delay [pregnancy], the more you delay the possibility of a second or third child" (El Nasser, USA Today, 7/25).