CANYON COUNTY— Here in Canyon County and across the nation, economists speculate that the gloomy economy is one reason why the birth rate continued on its downward slope in 2011.
“One reason I think why it went down, and similarly it’s happening in Europe, is the low rate of good job creation for young people,” The College of Idaho economics professor Jim Angresano said. “People can’t afford to have children.”
Or they at least can’t afford to maintain their current standard of living with more youngsters to care for, he added.
“If you reduce the income of a lot of people and you make them pessimistic about the future, and if they want to be very concerned and allocate a lot of resources for their children, they won’t have too many (kids),” he said.
Idaho’s declining birth rate mirrors that of the nation’s, which dropped in 2011 for the fourth straight year in a row, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Canyon County is seeing similar declines.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Angresano said.
“In terms of budgets for cities and towns, that’s pretty good because you have less (you have) to spend on schools,” he said.
Fewer people also means America’s ecological footprint will potentially shrink, he said.
But if the birth rate declines too much, that could pose a problem, he said, because there won’t be enough young workers to support the elderly.
“Ultimately depending on how much it goes down, it could be a problem, depending on if people save enough for retirement,” Angresano said.