Friday, February 24, 2012

Fewer births in 2011

In past years I have blogged about the rise in the teenage birth rate.

Now it is falling. NZ Statistics recently released the 2011 (year ended December) birth statistics.

The 2011 birthrate per 1,000 15-19 year-olds has fallen three whole points from 2010.  It was 28.8 (per 1,000 females aged 15-19) in 2010 and has dropped to 25.8 in 2011 - in 2008 it had climbed to 32.8

This is encouraging but I am not sure what is driving it. There was a similar drop from the late 1990s to the early 2000s (and similar numbers).

In 2011 there were rate-drops in every age group as the number of births fell from 63,897 to 61,403.

Changes as big as this do represent some behavioural/thinking change I think. The recession? But during the last recession of the early nineties births peaked. This recession they are falling, with a slight lag:

The steep incline during 2006-08 may have been an effect of WFF. That might be described as an 'artificial' increase resulting in an apparent decline thereafter as 'normal'  behaviour resumed.  Abortions have also fallen and the morning-after pill is now available. There are, of course, other underlying sub-group trends categorised by income, ethnicity, and age.

I do wonder though whether  (the prospect of) tougher welfare conditions is having some effect. Last time National was in government and they talked tough on the DPB, introduced work-testing (in 1998 from memory) there was similar decline in the teenage birthrate.

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