The CDC is reporting that child births to unwed mothers is down for the first time in history. There’s no question that it’s a cultural shift, but could it be one driven by economic concerns? After all, the Great Recession brought us a lot of firsts culturally and economically. For example, for the first time in history, there is more money in the economy than money actually moving through the economy.
Take these data from the 2012 General Social Survey on child bearing:
N=39,028. There are more unmarried people saying that they cannot afford any more children. And there is a significant portion of people saying that they cannot afford more children regardless of marital status.
Just like the general perception in the 1980s was that everyone was going to die in a nuclear holocaust, so why not spend, spend, spend, perhaps today, people feel that the economic pie will not be big enough to feed everyone; including their children.
It’s a good future survey question that needs more research. It’s not however, that far of a stretch.