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05/26/2009

Birth Rates Drop Due to Recession

Baby feet When news of the recession loomed and job loss started to rear its ugly head people began to take precautionary measures by means of halting procreation. Research has shown the sharpest decline of births at the start of this most recent economic recession while home prices and gas prices were at their highest. Many young couples have apparently postponed starting a family due to economic pressures whilst others have taken far more drastic measures. {source}

"For the first time in American history, [the] birthrate has dropped to roughly replacement level - or the number of births needed to maintain a stable population." {source} (this information is based on the latest available comprehensive analysis from 2006).

There is also evidence of higher instances of abortion and vasectomies as people fear the worst and take measures to protect their livelihoods.

But to what extent would you go to ensure that you're family is recession proof?

Though the evidence of these increased abortions and vasectomies is purely anecdotal, it does make one think about the extent of which people will go to protect themselves during these harder economic times.

The pregnant woman showed up at the medical center in flip-flops and in tears, after walking there to save bus fare.

Her boyfriend had lost his job, she told her doctor in Oakland, Calif., and now — fearing harder times for her family — she wanted to abort what would have been her fourth child.

"This was a desired pregnancy — she'd been getting prenatal care — but they re-evaluated expenses and decided not to continue," said Dr. Pratima Gupta. "When I was doing the options counseling, she interrupted me halfway through, crying, and said, `Dr. Gupta, I just walked here for an hour. I'm sure of my decision.'" {ABC News article}

The thought is absolutely heartwrenching.

Though it's an American story where costs of birth and health care could very well bankrupt a couple who do not have adequate health care coverage, the cost of raising a child here in Canada is relatively similar to that of the United States.

For the record, I am pro-choice. I do not oppose this woman's decision to terminate. It is a decision belonging to herself and her boyfriend, not us. I believe she made a responsible choice based on her current lifestyle and financial situation.

That being said, I do not believe it's a choice I could have or would have made.

Honestly? I am all over the map on this one.

I personally believe the decision to have a child is very much a contract. A planned pregnancy - such as this - is binding in my mind: in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer. That child, which you chose to bring into the world should not be a casualty of the current economy. 

See, I'm contradicting myself. Can you say conflicted?

Even so, fewer women are carrying their pregnancies to term, in turn, fewer babies go up for adoption meaning fewer couples, who are unable to have children, realize their dream of becoming parents. It's a vicious circle.

Vasectomies have risen as well (again, purely anecdotal) due to fears of pregnancy and inability to afford contraceptives. A Cleveland centre reported a fifty per cent increase in vasectomies since November. {CNN Article}

Which seems quite drastic to me: and permanent.

Regardless, people are taking some serious steps towards birth control and unplanned pregnancy, which, on one hand is responsible, yet... one could possibly regret once the current economy begins to improve. To each their own I suppose, seeing as it's a very personal decision; though, I worry these choices could cause considerable emotional anguish for those involved. Especially when things being to improve.

What steps have you taken to towards prevention? Have you considered holding off having another child do to the current economic state?


This is an original post to Canada Moms Blog. Samantha blogs regularly at her personal site, Temporarily MeCraftastrophe.
as well as at

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