CDC report: Bad economy leads to low birth rates

(CBS News) -- When men and women talk about getting married and having a family, they usually mean more than one child.

But the economy is changing that for many women in their 20s and 30s. Many women, CBS News Correspondent Elaine Quijano reported, are scaling back their baby goals.

Melissa Rheinlander told CBS News her plan was to have three children by now and "living the good life."

However, instead of the gaggle of kids she expected, she now has only one daughter.

Rheinlander says it's because of money. She said, "There is a lot of financial responsibility with having one child and honestly, I did not realize how expensive children can be until we had Alexandra."

Quijano reported on "The Early Show" that Rheinlander's response is a common refrain among many women of child bearing age today. With the average cost of raising a child nearly $250,000, many women are putting their plans on hold.

According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the jittery economy is responsible for birthrates falling to their lowest rates since 2007, falling into the same pattern not seen since the Great Depression. Today's birth rates are 65 births per 1,000 women - less than rates found in 1935 when birthrates were 77 per 1,000 women.

Sarah Fowler knows this firsthand. Even though she is only 24 years old, she says like a lot of younger women, mapping out her future family plans already seem like a constant struggle.

Fowler said, "When I was thinking about family, I really looked at my mom, and kind of what she did, and she had her first child when she was 26 and I assumed I would do the same thing."

Her dream of already being married to her boyfriend of five years diminished this past year when their bills and their aspirations stopped adding up.

Fowler said, "As a young woman, it's really difficult to find that balance to really strive towards having a family at a great age."

Waiting too long can be a risk for women.

Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at New York's St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, told CBS News, "They might not be able to get pregnant, or they may need in-vitro services. ... The second thing which we're going to have to think about is: What is the effect of having older mothers with younger children?"

For Rheinlander, she's hoping a change in the economy will come and that their dream family will become a reality.

Rheinlander said, "It's unfortunate right now but I don't want to add to our debt and overextend ourselves."

On "The Early Show," co-anchor Chris Wragge said, "The study did find that there was actually an increase of babies being born last year to women in their 40s."


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