A report from the Urban Institute has some disturbing implications for the future of the United States, asserting that birth rates among women 20 to 29 years old between 2007 and 2012 reached historic lows.
The birth rate among that group dropped 15 percent between 2007 and 2012. The study postulated that the reason for the decline in births was the recession. Nan Marie Astone, one of the report’s authors, said, “It’s hard to think that [the economic decline] wasn’t the reason.”
The period in question saw a “dramatic decline in birth rates among unmarried” black and Latino women and a concomitant drop in the number of white married women. Latino women’s births plummeted 26 percent, black women’s 14 percent, and white women’s 11 percent.
The report stated, “We calculate that in 2012, women in their twenties had births at a pace that would lead to 948 births per 1,000 women, by far the slowest pace of any generation of young women in U.S. history… If these low birth rates to women in their twenties continue, the U.S. might eventually face the type of generational imbalance that currently characterizes Japan and some European countries, but it is too early to predict or worry about that eventuality.”
The Pew Research Center has determined that people between the ages of 18 and 34 will outnumber the group aged 51 to 69 in 2015.
Astone thought there might be a silver lining, though, stating that women in their 20s now might start having children in their 30s, changing the most fertile age group from what is presently aged 25-29 to women in their 30s. Until the 1980s, the most fertile age group had been aged 20-24.
Astone theorized that a smaller baby boom would lead to a decline in the demand for housing, saying, “The industry that probably would be concerned about this is housing. People tend to buy a house when they have a baby.”
Of course, the study ignores one salient fact. According to the Guttmacher Institute, over 5.6 million abortions were performed between 2007 and 2011.