Is the Recession a Great Form of Birth Control?

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recession birth control

The state of the economy is prompting couples to hold off on having kids. Credit: Getty Images

Money troubles aren't sexy, and some experts suspect that may be the reason the U.S. birth rate has dropped for the second year in a row.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the birth rate fell 2.7 percent last year, despite the fact that the overall population grew, according to numbers released Aug. 27 by the National Center for Health Statistics. The 2009 birth rate also is the lowest recorded in a century.

"It's a good-sized decline for one year. Every month is showing a decline from the year before," Stephanie Ventura, the demographer who oversaw the report, tells the Times.

Experts say the recession is causing married couples to put off having children. The 2007 birth rate was the highest ever, but the recession began that fall, and, in 2008, the numbers began to decline.

"There is quite possibly a connection between the decline in births and the economic downturn," the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes the health statistics center, tells the Times. "More details on the demographics of mothers who gave birth in 2009 are needed to more strongly make this connection."

However, despite the fact that the overall birth rate fell in 2008, the report showed an increase in the number of births to women older than 40. But not all younger moms are letting money woes halt their pregnancy schedule.

Rebecca Frost of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., says she and her husband wanted their first two kids -- they plan on having four -- to be close in age. They forged ahead with their plan to get pregnant with baby No. 2, who was born in March 2010, despite some recession-related hurdles.

"My company at the time was in trouble, and went through multiple rounds of layoffs," the 31-year-old tells ParentDish. "I was lucky, and found a better job at a company closer to home."

However, Frost and her husband do make financial sacrifices -- they downsized from two cars to one, for instance -- and have halted more baby-making plans for the near future.

"We want to have more kids, but are waiting until I have my MBA and we are both earning more money," she says.

Related: U.S. Sees Fewer Premature Births for Second Straight Year

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.