Lower birth rate blamed on the economy

11:20 PM, Aug 12, 2011   |    comments
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NORTH MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM)- Women aren't having as many babies and government analysts say its because they are worried about the economy.

The birth rate in America has fallen to levels that compare to the Great Depression in the 1930's. The decline in Michigan, where unemployment is high and young people are leaving, is about 20 percent since 2000, higher than the national average.

Before they have a baby, couples are asking themselves if they can afford it.

"You just want to have a stable setting before you decide to have a child," says 20-year-old Kyle Barrenger. "You want everything set. Have a job, a good car."

Nationwide, the fertility rate is down 7 percent since 2007. Almost one out of five women age 40 to 44 have no children. Others are delaying additions to their families.

"We have two and we'd kind of like to add a third child," says North Muskegon mother Tasha Miller. "But with stuff still so uncertain, we probably should postpone the third for awhile."

More women are also breast-feeding their babies, and not just for the health benefits. Baby formula can cost several thousand dollars a year.

"Whatever you eat baby eats," explains breast-feeding mother Sarah Mirkle. "You drink water, you produce milk, you feed baby and you don't pay $14 for a can of formula. I don't know why more people don't do it."

By Phil Dawson

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