America’s Depressed Birthrate

Elizabeth Crnkovich also contributed to this article.

Americans are having fewer children, and the Obama economy is to blame

Want to know how bad the Obama economy really is, especially for young people and minorities? Take a look at our plummeting birthrate, which has been falling for the last four years.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control lays out the specifics of this birth dearth. Reading the 29-page report, certain facts leapt out at me.

Fact #1: The total number of births is falling. The number of babies born is down 1 percent since the previous year, and has been steadily dropping since the onset of the recession four years ago. The numbers play out differently depending on race, however. While births among Non-Hispanic white and black women dropped 1 percent, among Asian/Pacific Islander women it actually rose by 3 percent. Hispanic births took the hardest hit, with the number of births falling 3 percent among this group, which has probably suffered more from the current administration’s mismanagement of the economy than any other.

Fact #2: The general fertility rate is falling. The overall fertility rate, like the number of births, has dropped 1 percent. Here the difference between the races is even more stark, however. Hispanic women saw their general fertility rate drop by 6 percent, while among non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women it fell by 2 percent. That is to say, the very groups that voted overwhelmingly to give the President a second term are the ones whose fertility is suffering disproportionately from the ongoing recession.

Fact #3: The teen birth rate fell farther than any other age group. Teens had 8 percent fewer babies in 2010 than in 2011. This is the lowest that the teen birth rate has been since 1946. Overall, there has been a 25 percent drop since 2007. The Obama administration claims that this drop in the teen birth rate reflects their successful sex education and condom/birth control distribution schemes. In fact, it is a reflection of a moribund economy, especially for minority youth. While other ethnic groups saw the birth rate among their teens fall from 6 to 8 percent over the past year, among Hispanic teens the birth rate dropped 11 percent.

Fact #4: The American people are, once again, not replacing themselves. A few years ago we at PRI were celebrating because the TFR in America had finally climbed back to replacement levels of 2.1 children per woman, after having fallen below replacement in 1972 with the Supreme Court decision to allow abortion on demand just around the corner. Now, according to the CDC report, “The [total fertility] rate had been above replacement in 2006 and 2007, but has dropped below since, and was also below replacement from 1972 through 2005.”

Fact #5: While younger women are delaying births, older women are rushing to beat the biological clock. Young women have been hit the hardest by the poor economy. The birth rate for women in their teens and 20’s (15-29) has dropped significantly, while the birth rate among women in their late thirties and mid-forties (35-44) has actually risen. Why this is happening is not difficult to understand. The biological alarm clock is going off for those women nearing the end of their reproductive lives, who had to conceive a child while they still could, bad economy or no.

Children are laughing, loving signs of hope in our midst. The current birth dearth is a reflection of the lack of hope, especially on the part of young people and minorities, that things will change for the better any time soon.

Isn’t it ironic that the very people who gave Obama a first term—and now a second—should be sacrificing their children on the altar of their fears about the future?

Will someone please explain to them that hope is not a policy and that change doesnot necessarily mean change for the better?

Steve Mosher is the president of Population Research Institute.