California recently released 2010 birth data, and the resulting news coverage noted a connection between the economic downturn and historically low birth rates.
Said the Sacramento Bee: “California’s birth rate tumbled last year to its lowest point since the Great Depression, new state figures show, yet another indication that the difficult economy is reshaping everyday life.”
In 2010, there were 512,000 births across California, down 10% from 2007 (see related graph of birth rates over time in California). The decline in Latino birth rates is a driving force behind this trend. Birth rates among young Latina moms (under age 25) dropped by more than 20% from 2007 to 2010, “a seismic shift that normally takes decades,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
While the article plays up the connection between the recession and lower birth rates, demographers point to other causes, too, for this drop-off: children of immigrants have fewer kids than their parents did; couples now wait longer to start families; and the population in California is growing older.
Given all of these trends, state demographers predict historically low birth rates throughout the decade. Experts point out, though, that California’s population is still growing — partly a result of immigration — even if the growth is slower than it once was.
Posted by kidsdata.org