You Have More In Common With Your Depression-Era Grandmother Than You Think

If you’re a mother who has recently started a family, your choices about family planning and resources reflect that of mothers in the Great Depression. The economic downturn is causing families once again to reconsider what they can afford and subsequently, how many babies they have.

USA Today reports:

Census data show that in 2010, 18.8% of women ages 40-44 were childless, echoing a trend from the 1930s found in the CDC analysis. Of 100,000 women born in 1910 who turned 25 in 1935 at the height of the Great Depression, 19.7% were childless by age 50.

Demographers know that fertility rates drop during economic turmoil.

“The longer this goes on, the more likely it is to lead to a prolonged shift in fertility,” says Mark Mather of the non-profit Population Reference Bureau.

Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville says that unless the economy kicks into gear and more young adults get jobs, we’re likely to see an “uptick” in childlessness as well as one-child families. Aside from the growing awareness we have for women and men who are childless by choice, it’s also important to note how much economical shifts can influence fertility rates, and conversely, how our family planning can impact economic resources.


Similar Posts