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Economic Woes Drive US Birthrate to Its Lowest in 25 Years — Dollars and Sense

paparutzi, flickr

Recent estimates say it costs upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child to adulthood, and it seems many people have taken those numbers to heart: a new survey indicates the American birthrate is at is lowest point since 1987.

Demographic Intelligence, which does quarterly birth forecasts for companies that make products for children, says that thanks largely to unemployment and skyrocketing student loan debt, many Americans are opting to remain childless or to put off adding more kids to their families.

As a result, the US birthrate has fallen from an average of 2.12 births per woman in 2007 to just 1.87 in 2012 — and it’s predicted to tick down even more next year.

That said, those numbers are largely dependent on demographics. Hispanics and people with less education, two groups that have been hit especially hard by the recession, were the most likely to hold off on having children. On the other hand, college graduates, non-Hispanic whites and Asian Americans saw a small increase in their family sizes.

“What that tells you is that births have clearly been affected by the economy,” said Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence. “Like any recession, it doesn’t hit all people equally, and it hit some people much harder than others.”

[ABC News]

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