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Does it feel like you’re buying fewer baby gifts these days? It may not be your imagination. For the second year in a row, the National Center for Health Statistics is reporting a drop in the U.S. birth rate. According to the recent National Vital Statistics Report, the number of babes born last year dropped 2.6 percent -- from 13.9 births per 1,000 people to 13.5. (Compare that to the baby-full year of 2007, when the birth rate was 14.3 per 1,000 people.)
Experts cite one big reason for the decline, according to the Associated Press: the sad state of the economy. Babies, it seems, are just too expensive (all those diapers!) when money is scarce and job security is a thing of the past. In fact, according to a recent report, it costs about $222,000 to raise a baby to age 17! That’s an intimidating number when you’re cutting coupons and worrying about your next paycheck.
Personally, I can relate to the desire to wait: My husband and I would like to give our son a sibling, but we’ve been holding off because of the recession. We’re both self-employed, and frankly, keeping our family a cozy threesome seems like the financially responsible thing to do right now. But emotionally? That’s another story. My son is almost 4 years old, and I worry about spacing the kids too far apart. (Although, to be fair, my sister and I are five years apart and we’re extremely close.) Then there’s the matter of my own age; Obviously, I’m not getting any younger! There’s a part of me that just wants to say screw it -- and do it.
Is having a baby during a recession a bad idea? Chime in below!
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