A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a national decline in birth rates, with Oregon among the states with the most dramatic drop.
Similar statistics from the Multnomah County Health Department show the steepest decline in birth rates locally in decades.
For those who might question whether the economy is responsible for women here having fewer children, the county health department has compared the local birth rate against the local employment rate and found that since 2006 the two match nearly exactly – as the employment rate has dropped, so has the birth rate.
What makes that comparison particularly interesting is that employment rates and birth rates don’t always match up. In fact, for much of the 1990s the Multnomah County employment rate rose, but the birth rate dropped. The county birth rate began climbing starting in 1997 and continued climbing until 2006. Since then, like the employment rate, it has plummeted.
Aaron Caughey, chairwoman of the Oregon Health & Science University Department of Obstetrics, says she’s convinced the drop in the local birth rate is tied to the economy. But she isn’t certain the economy explains the entire drop. Normally, more than half of babies born, Caughey says, are not the result of conscious decision-making.
Read more at The Portland Tribune.