The Correlation Between Birth Rates and the Recession

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THINKSTOCK

The economy has always played a significant role in the birth rates of African Americans, but the recent downturn could have a much more serious effect on the community.  One of the hidden secrets behind the “Great Recession” is the role different generations have played in the downturn. There are about 78 million baby boomers and about 82 million millenials tweeting away, but Generation X? A paltry 58 million. In other words, the generation now in its prime earning years is too small to keep the economy humming along.

Unfortunately, according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences, those demographic trends are only going to get worse, especially for African Americans.

The National Academy of Sciences study focused on familial and birth decisions during the recession and found that, according to a report at AlterNet, “among women who were in their early 20s in 2008, just as the Great Recession was sweeping through America, about 151,000 will not have a child by age 40. They estimate that the recession may mean that there will be at least half a million fewer children being born over the next 20 years.”

Economic uncertainly has always made people more cautious about starting a family or having more children, but the depth, length and complexity of the Great Recession has had a particularly damaging effect on African-American birthrates.

African-American birth rates have fallen below what is known as “the replacement level.” The replacement number is how many children per woman a community needs to have in order to replace people who die from natural or unnatural causes. In the United States, that magic number is 2.1. The black community has dropped below that threshold, from 2.5 to 2.0 in the latter years of the recession, the only ethnic group in which this has occurred. (Whites and Asians were already below the threshold.)

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Source: The Root | 

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