Latest Victim of Recession: Larger Families

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 1:35 PM CDT
A young, pregnant couple.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Families appear to be putting off that baby until economic conditions improve, the New York Times reports. The birth rate fell 2% in 2008 compared to 2007, and the trend looks to be continuing into 2009. “It’s the recession," a sociologist says. "Children are the most expensive item in every family’s budget, so it’s a good place to cut back when you’re uncertain about the future.”

Though 2009 data is spotty, the falloff in birth rate is affecting downtrodden states the most. In hard-hit Florida, births declined 7% in the first 3 months of this year. Already watchers are bringing up the specter of previous hard times when the birth rate sank, like the Great Depression and the '70s recession. “All the measures and indicators are much worse than in the 1970s,” a demographer says. “It may be that many couples saw it coming.”