Real-Life Economics in the Kansas City Star
Today’s KC Star has a terrific article about how the economic downturn has impacted people’s day-to-day lives in one very big way: People are having fewer children. This is not surprising at all, but it is fascinating to see the numbers and consider the real-world results of that. From the article:
For example, Missouri’s birth rate — the number of births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age — in the first five months of this year dropped 6 percent, a decrease that state demographers called substantial.
My wife and I had our second child during that exact period. These numbers could well influence his entire life. There will be less competition for high school and college admissions. Perhaps there will be less competition for graduate school and right-out-of-college employment. With less demand, costs to us for some of these items might decrease, as well.
Now, obviously, he would see these benefits if this is a one- or two-year decline in the birth rate. You won’t see many universities close because they are short on admissions for just one year. But if this becomes a longer-term decline in the birth rate, the supply curve of education options would decline as well. More importantly, if the decline in the birth rate is a sign of long-term economic contraction, all of our children are going to be impacted by the resulting reduced opportunities.
It is a very interesting article, and another example of how macroeconomic issues impact microeconomic choices.