A nearly unbelievable data point: A historically low birth rate and what it means for housing

By Jessica Lautz | National Association of Realtors

The number one question I hear from members is: how is it possible that the birth rate in the country is actually at more than a 100-year low? What usually follows is that people think of and discuss their favorite neighborhood child or grandchild (you know you have a favorite!). In actuality, the birth rate is now the lowest level since the National Center for Health Statistics first started collecting the data.

Let’s break down what that means. This is the birth rate per 1,000 people who are in the childbearing years of 15 to 44. This development is not new, as birth rates have been declining as a relatively consistent trend since 2007. What is surprising is the acceleration in the decline in the last year—which declined 4% compared to past declines of 1-2% annually.

The baby bust has likely been fueled by both economic and health concerns of women during the pandemic. As some families saw women leave the workforce in the last year, it may not have been financially possible to add a new baby to the family. Some women may not have felt comfortable going into a doctor’s office during a pregnancy or had limited family support systems due to safety concerns of COVID-19. Others may not have wanted to add another child after Zoom-schooling kids all day while juggling work.


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October 2021