Women in their twenties are having far fewer babies than the generations before them — with birth rates dropping more than 15 percent between 2007 and 2012. That is the perhaps not so surprising conclusion of a new study by the Urban Institute, which says the economic downturn following the 2008 recession is the most likely cause for this trend. Before 2008, marital and non-marital birth rates had both increased, while in 2012, women in their twenties were having babies at the slowest pace in U.S. history. Drops in fertility rates in that age group were also seen during periods of economic malaise in the 1930s and 1970s, for example. Nan Marie Astone, lead author of the study said it’s too early to say whether this will have any long term effects and whether the women of this generation will start families in their thirties. “We’ll see an effect in the short term on very young children, but if these populations recover, we shouldn’t see a long-term change in the age structure in the United States,” she said.
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