This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Recession Blamed for Drop in US Birth Rate

The National Center for Health Statistics just released its tabulation of births in the United States for 2009 showing that the number of births declined for the second year in a row and, since the population continues to grow, this means that the crude birth rate (CBR) has dropped to a level not seen in many years. As the economy boomed in the early part of the decade, the number of births in the US reached record highs--peaking at 4.3 million in 2007, and the CBR rose steadily from 2002 through 2007 when it hit 14.3 births per thousand population. In 2009 the number of births declined to 4.1 million and the CBR was down to 13.5.
"When the economy is bad and people are uncomfortable about their financial future, they tend to postpone having children. We saw that in the Great Depression the 1930s and we're seeing that in the Great Recession today," said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University.

"It could take a few years to turn this around," he added.

Despite this drop, there are still 2 million more people born each year in the US than there are people dying and the death rate has been dropping. Indeed, the infant mortality rate declined between 2007 and 2009 so a slightly higher fraction of the babies born in 2009 will survive compared to 2007.

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