Skip to main content

The Recession Might Kill Your Baby

  • Author:
  • Updated:

We've already explored the question of how recessions might help and hinder your love life. The data from birthrates--which even in an age of birth control and abortion is still probably the best proxy for the amount of sex people are having--is mixed. Some demographic groups seem to have higher birthrates during economic downturns, while others have lower birthrates. But that doesn't answer the deeper question: is a recession a good time to have a baby?
In a way, just asking the question might be surprising. After all, odds are you are earning less and your job is at risk. This might seem like a good time to hold off on adding new cost centers--err, children--to your financial situation. If firms are downsizing, should your family be upsizing?
On the other hand, recessions pass and children can last for decades. Having a baby now could mean that when it comes time to put your child into school--an expensive proposition, especially if you are considering private schools--you'll be making more money. Having a child in an economic boom risks setting yourself up for additional costs down the road, when economic times might not be as bright. In short, downsizing on Wall Street might be a contrary indicator for the advisability of child birth.
But for those of you who are considering using the extra time your layoff or slowed deal pace has given you to procreate, we've got some bad news. A recent paper out of Germany indicates that people born during recessions die an average of 15 months earlier than those born during prosperity. The main culprit is heart disease, which often doesn't show up until people reach their 70s or 80s. So if your goal is to have children who live long, long lives, you might want to hold off. On the other hand, if you don't mind increasing the probably that your kid will die 18 months earlier than some kid born during a boom, get busy now.
Born in a Recession? You May Die Sooner [Reality Base]