Why the Recession Might Cause a Baby Boom

When the unemployment rate rises, so does fertility -- for some couples.

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Kids are expensive -- so a recession would cause people to have fewer kids, right?

Actually, no. Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that once you control for divorce and the proportion of young marriages, then an increase in the unemployment rate increases fertility, suggesting that recessions can lead to mini-baby booms. (But without subtracting out those factors, fertility declines when the unemployment rate rises, suggesting that higher unemployment may cause marital stress which leads to divorce, hence no more babies for those couples.)

One possible explanation for the findings is that when people are laid off or under-employed, they see it as an opportunity to have more children because they have more time.

What do you think: With all of the recent lay-offs, will we see a baby boom in nine months?

  • For more, read: "Can You Afford a Baby?"