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The Birth Rate Is Nearly Unbelievable


The Birth Rate Is Nearly Unbelievable

This decline also has implications for housing and homeownership

October 6, 2021
Graphic of baby stroller on a downhill bar chart

The United States is now like Western Europe and Japan, in terms of the country's birth rate.

That figure has been declining since 2007 but what is surprising is the acceleration of decline, 4% last year compared with past declines of 1% to 2% annually. 

Dr. Jessica Lautz, the demographics and behavioral number cruncher for the National Association of Realtors, writes that the baby bust likely was fueled by financial and health concerns during the pandemic as women left the workforce to take care of family, among other reasons. She adds that the decline occurred among women in childbearing years for every age, racial, and ethnic category.

This decline also has implications for housing and homeownership. Having a baby is often a decision-maker to impel a move into a larger home, just as having a young adult leave or return to the home often causes the empty nester to think about moving. The decline is also being mirrored by home buyers with children in the home.

In 1985, 58% of buyers had children under the age of 18. Today only 33% of home buyers have children under the age of 18. This impacts current buyers' decisions on both the location of the home that is purchased and the size of the home purchased. The latest update will be available soon in the 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report to see if this trend continues among home buyers.

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