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Young adults and the declining birth rate

Sunday, July 1, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Raising children has always been expensive. According to the Huffington Post's "Birth Rate Plummets, Young Americans Too Poor to Have Kids," the effects of the nation's economic turmoil on young adults have made the cost unbearable for many.

The story cites factors such as declining wages, high unemployment rates and the growth of unmarried households as possible reasons for the 8 percent decline in children born in the U.S. It also points to the increased number of young adults "moving back home with their parents instead of becoming parents themselves" as a contributing factor.

The story gives food for thought by quoting a research note from Chris Christopher, senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight, regarding the impact that the trend can have on our current economy:

"These trends are worrisome since population growth is a strong driver for consumer spending, housing demand, and household formation — especially among younger age cohorts who are looking to buy their first home, form their first family, have their first child, or buy big ticket items."

If we look beyond the here and now, what are the long-term ripple effects of the decline?

This post is part of the American Next, a special project exploring the hopes, fears and changing expectations of Missouri's next generation in challenging times.


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