In this fact sheet, author Ken Johnson discusses how since the onset of the Great Recession, there have been 3.4 million fewer U.S. births than expected. National Center for Health Statistics data for 2015 show the lowest general fertility rate on record and only 3,978,000 births last year. There were 338,000 fewer births in 2015 than in 2007, just before the Recession began to influence fertility. This decline in births is entirely due to reduced fertility rates. In 2015, the shortfall of births was nearly 600,000, and recent data provide no evidence of any upturn in birth rates. It is too early to determine yet what implications this recession will have for long term U.S. fertility. But whether they are just delayed or foregone, the 3.4 million missing births so far mean there are currently many empty beds in maternity wards, less business for firms in the baby industry, and many empty seats in kindergarten classrooms.

Publication Date

Summer 6-7-2016


National Fact Sheet No. 34


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2016. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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