Bringing the Economy Home

Pew Study Links Declining U.S. & Idaho Birthrates to the Recession

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25,149 babies were born in Idaho in 2008 at the height of the recession

A noticeable decline in the U.S. birthrate is linked closely to the economic recession starting in 2008.  A new Pew Research Center report out this week says there were a record number of births in 2007, just as the economy slid into the recession, when 4,316,233 babies were born.  Preliminary data for 2009 indicate the number of births dropped to the lowest number since 2004 at 4,131,018.

“A state-level look at fertility illustrates the strength of the correlation between lower birth rates and economic distress. States experiencing the largest economic declines in 2007 and 2008 were most likely to experience relatively large fertility declines from 2008 to 2009, the analysis finds. States with relatively minor economic declines were likely to experience relatively small declines.” – Pew Research Center 

For example, Pew points to North Dakota, which experienced one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates (3.1%) in 2008.  It was the only state to show even a slight increase (0.7%) in births from 2008 to 2009. All other states and the District of Columbia experienced either no change, or declines in births during that period.

Idaho’s unemployment rate averaged 4.2 percent in 2008 and the number of births here declined 5.6 percent from 2008 to 2009.  Here’s a look at the birthrate in some of Idaho’s neighboring states.

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Source: Pew Research Center

Check out similar stories from The New York Times and Talking Points Memo.


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