[Related discussion: here’s a link to an interview I did on momlogic.com about the RISE in birth rate for women 40+ in 2008, while the rates for everyone else fell.]

Recessionary forces had the predicted effect on birthrates in 2008 — sending them down among women across the 15-39 age categories.   Amongst women 40 and older, however, the rate didn’t decline and it didn’t just hold steady, it jumped up by 4%, continuing an upward trend in this demographic, ongoing since the 70s, and rising to 2.2 first births/thousand to women 40-44 (compared to 2.0 in 2007) and 9.9 total births/thousand (it was 9.5 in 2007).  Women 45+ went from a 0.6 rate in 2007 to 0.7 (rounded numbers) in 2008 – an even bigger %age rise.

At the other end of the age spectrum, births to teens were down 2% after a two-year rise in 2006 and 2007 that broke the 14-year decline in teen births in the years prior.teen-birth-rates3 Blue line 18-19, Green = 15-19, Red = 15-17.

Here’s a Pew Research article on the recession effect.

Other possible dynamics in play? The drop may have something to do also with recognition as the teen rate rose in 2006 and 2007 of problems with Ab-only ed — and moves in a number of states away from that.

Likewise, all the additional people who had babies in 2007 (that rise occurred in all age brackets except those 45+ and those 14 and under) were busy in 2008 — taking care of those kids.   Demand in the baby realm is not infinite.

On the other hand, recession-based decisions against a baby today among folks who would have otherwise felt ready, will lead to further increases in births to older moms (and dads) down the line.  Lots of ripple effects to all these social dynamics.


2 thoughts on “Recession as Birth Control? Varies by Age.

  • April 7, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Are you saying that the recognition of “problems with Ab-only ed — and moves in a number of states away from that” maybe means that there are educational alternatives for younger people so they are not having babies as early?

  • April 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Yes – at least there’s been lowered reliance by states on funds for ab-only education since the data emerged in late 2007 indicating the failure of those programs.

    It was in the 2006 data that the teen birth rate rose (3%) for the first time in 14 years, breaking a steep decline (as you can see in the graph above). And that was directly linked by analysts to the federal funding of ab-only sex ed. And states began refusing the funding – at that point. In June 2009 the funding for that program quietly died.

    But here’s a timely article out today — indicating that the Health Care Reform bill now PUTS THAT FUNDING BACK!!!!! At the same time that it funds a state grant program for more comprehensive approaches to sex education. Schizoid. And changeable:


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