Birth rates among black women have dropped 2.4 percent as a result of the recession. Overall, preliminary data from 2010 show birthrates have dropped to 64.7 births per thousand women ages 15 to 44, from 69.6 births per thousand women in 2007, the year the recession began.
Economists aren’t surprised by this stat and neither am I. It wasn’t until I graduated from college and entered what we call the real world that I realized there was only a very small chance that children could be in my future. An entry level salary in New York City is one thing, but add Sallie Mae and credit card debt into the mix, and it felt like all signs were pointing to a barren dead end.
Admittedly my anti-procreation stance was somewhat fluid at first. But even as a few years went by, and a couple of promotions and small raises came, the increases never seemed like it would be enough to raise a child. For every extra dollar I earned, the price of my monthly metro card went up 10. For every single percentage increase in my salary, my health insurance went up five points. Even with a mate, I knew it wouldn’t be likely that his financial situation would be drastically different from mine. I figured the best we could do is save a couple hundred dollars in rent, electricity, gas, and cable charges by planning together —hardly enough to add up to the $226,920 it takes to raise a child these days.