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Study looks into how declining fertility will impact state budgets

Wednesday, Dec 7, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Illinois’ 2020 fertility rate dropped 19.2 percent from the 2001-2010 annual average, Pew reports

In the coming years, the degree to which the fertility rate reshapes state budgets will hinge on multiple issues affecting the total population. Several states’ total populations were already declining prior to the pandemic, and a third of states lost residents last year.

If there’s an X-factor in determining states’ future demographics, it’s migration. States can overcome reduced fertility levels by attracting residents from other states or abroad to boost their overall populations and add to their tax base. For instance, last year, deaths exceeded births in half of states, but migration easily offset the losses in states such as South Carolina and Tennessee. States are also contending with additional costs from increasing populations of older adults as well as Baby Boomers exiting the workforce. Although birth rates started falling around the beginning of the Great Recession, changes in the population of children since then pale in comparison to the rapidly growing number of Americans in their 60s and 70s. The aging of the population could further limit revenue growth and add to fiscal uncertainty, as discussed in a previous report commissioned by Pew. […]

Future trends in fertility are difficult for states to project. Oregon, for example, in 2020 estimated its deaths wouldn’t exceed births until after 2025, but now reports that the inversion already occurred as a result of the pandemic. There’s also much uncertainty around how, over the long term, low fertility rates will influence labor force productivity, women in the workforce, and other issues. […]

Today, most states find themselves in a relatively healthy fiscal position, with many enjoying robust budget surpluses. Fewer births in recent years have contributed appreciable cost savings. If low fertility persists, however, states will need to look more for other ways to grow their tax bases or they could face challenges over the long term.

* Fox 2

March of Dimes, a national nonprofit that advocates for and educates on infant health, released its 2022 report card earlier this month. Missouri and Illinois both received “D” grades in that report over preterm birth rates.

According to the March of Dimes, Missouri received a “D-” score with an 11.3% preterm birth rate and an infant mortality rate of 5.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. Illinois received a “D+” score with a 10.7% preterm birth rate and an infant mortality rate of 5.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Both individual report cards for Missouri and Illinois suggest the states should consider stronger policy measures regarding Medicaid expansion, midwifery, prenatal quality collaborative and maternal mortality review committees.

Nationally, March of Dimes reports that the U.S. preterm birth rate increased to 10.5% in 2021, a significant 4% increase in just one year and the highest recorded rate since 2007. The country’s overall grade was a “D+” over the crisis. Nine states received an “F” grade on their individual report cards.

* CBS Chicago

Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman has spent years researching the problem at the University of California, San Diego. She said COVID did impact the way women access care – and there is also a big racial disparity here in Illinois.

A total of 14.9 percent of all babies born to Black women last year were pre-term – a rate significantly higher than other groups. The disparity widened in 2021. […]

So how do we fix it? [Kelly Hubbard, a Springfield-based policy analyst for the March of Dimes] says policy-wise, Illinois is actually doing everything it should be.

“But it comes down to making sure that we have hospitals and labor and delivery units available to all; that we aren’t prohibiting certain communities from getting the quality care that everyone deserves,” she said.

In another interesting finding, more moms had C-sections in 2021. It jumped nearly a full percentage point nationwide – meaning nearly one third of all babies were born via C-section.

* Last month Vox highlighted the shrinking future of higher education

In four years, the number of students graduating from high schools across the country will begin a sudden and precipitous decline, due to a rolling demographic aftershock of the Great Recession. Traumatized by uncertainty and unemployment, people decided to stop having kids during that period. But even as we climbed out of the recession, the birth rate kept dropping, and we are now starting to see the consequences on campuses everywhere. Classes will shrink, year after year, for most of the next two decades. People in the higher education industry call it “the enrollment cliff.”

Among the small number of elite colleges and research universities — think the Princetons and the Penn States — the cliff will be no big deal. These institutions have their pick of applicants and can easily keep classes full.

For everyone else, the consequences could be dire. In some places, the crisis has already begun. College enrollment began slowly receding after the millennial enrollment wave peaked in 2010, particularly in regions that were already experiencing below-average birth rates while simultaneously losing population to out-migration. Starved of students and the tuition revenue they bring, small private colleges in New England have begun to blink off the map. Regional public universities like Ship are enduring painful layoffs and consolidation. […]

The future looks very different in some parts of the country than in others, and will also vary among national four-year universities, regional universities like Ship, and community colleges. [Nathan Grawe, an economist at Carleton College] projects that, despite the overall demographic decline, demand for national four-year universities on the West Coast will increase by more than 7.5 percent between now and the mid-2030s. But in states like New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Louisiana, it will decline by 15 percent or more.

* More…

    * Today Show | Racial disparities in fertility care have persisted for years. Here’s why:The only reason she was able to cover the cost, she said, is that she lives in Illinois, one of few states that requires insurance companies to cover fertility treatments. She also received a grant from the Cade Foundation to cover additional costs. Townsend has since started her own advocacy organization, The Broken Brown Egg, which provides grants to people in similar situations.

    * Fox Illinois | US among most dangerous high-income countries for childbirth, report says: Policy experts at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said the crisis disproportionately affects people of color, which accounted for nearly 60% of those deaths, along with undocumented and incarcerated women, people experiencing intimate partner violence and those in the LGBTQ+ community.

    * Courthouse News | Researchers sound alarm on Illinois child care crisis: The studies, released in May and October, paint a grim picture of the current state of Illinois’ child care sector, finding parents face dwindling options and soaring prices for early child care services in the state while many workers in the industry live in poverty. It’s a trend, the studies conclude, that will not change without significant state intervention.


  1. - Homebody - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    == Among the small number of elite colleges and research universities ==

    Ok I’m with you so far…

    == think the Princetons ==

    Yep, still on board…

    == and the Penn States ==

    I’m sorry, did you mean to say Penn?

  2. - Banish Misfortune - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 10:48 am:

    Penn State??

  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 10:49 am:

    ===Penn State??===

    “We Are”?

    No? No.

  4. - leonard - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    could the answer to our declining population and work force actually be at our southern border

  5. - Amalia - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 10:55 am:

    How do rates compare with, say Scandinavian countries? there are differences in what governments spend for, differences in what people expect for their families. Certainly those countries are less ethnically diverse, and have had higher socio economic situations for some time, but it seems that fertility rates are lower there and they are not suffering. the key is for what do we spend our money?

  6. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:13 am:

    @Leoanrd - We definitely need to expand legal immigration.

    Illinois leaders will need to make difficult decisions in the future, but in all likelihood they will just continue to kick the can.

  7. - clec dcn - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:13 am:

    A college degree means much less today than it did years ago and far, far less than 40 years ago. Not that it is no good or important, but specialization has benefits of point work technologies, not just education as such.

  8. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:15 am:

    =could the answer to our declining population and work force actually be at our southern border=

    Depends on who you ask. Smart people? Yes. Easily scared people? No.

  9. - Roadrager - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:23 am:

    Having their “Illinois Exodus” talking point disproven, look for the Tribune Editorial Board to pivot toward the Statewide Pull-Out.

  10. - Techie - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    “could the answer to our declining population and work force actually be at our southern border”

    Yes. The US fertility rate overall is below the replacement level, meaning the only reason our population isn’t shrinking is because of immigration into the US. The same is probably true of the IL fertility rate being below replacement level.

    We might not get our fertility rate at the replacement level of 2.1, but one way to get it closer to that would be to reduce income inequality/increase wealth and services of the least fortunate among us. People with a bleak financial future are less likely to want kids they can’t afford than those with a better outlook.

  11. - Leap Day William - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:33 am:

    == How do rates compare with, say Scandinavian countries? ==

    They’re in a similar boat:

  12. - Blake - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 11:33 am:

    We have already seen closures of MacMurray and Lincoln College in Central Illinois. It’s definitely the less prestigious colleges that will struggle.

  13. - in the biz - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    State licensed child care providers are required (all caps) to charge private pay parents the same daily rate as children on CCAP (ChildCareAssistanceProgram).

    DHS just increased the daily reimbursement rate for CCAP on Dec 1.

    The state is causing the increase in childcare costs by increasing the minimum wage for high school graduates with no experience. (These positions should be at least 50% of a childcare center’s workforce.

    The state is causing the increase in childcare by controlling the market price with the ccap program reimbursement rates.

    Tangentially… let’s do a thought experiment…
    Ask yourself why more child care centers aren’t being opened…

  14. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 1:59 pm:

    in the biz,
    So the amounts are going up by around 8%. When inflation is hovering about same I would think that would be expected. And yes, thank goodness the minimum wage is also going up.

    Childcare workers are entitled to decent pay for their services. Even if they are high school grads with no experience, I’m going to guess they have also undergone a background check to get their jobs and done a basic training class before they supervise children.

  15. - froganon - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 4:24 pm:

    @in the biz. The State causes our lack of child care workers by paying them too much (banned punctuation)? And your solution is to entrust the care and early education of our children with people who can’t afford to keep food on their table or a roof over their families’ heads? Sounds like Conservative boot strap family values in action. Ugh, just ugh.

  16. - leonard - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 4:26 pm:

    this is a country of immigrants 47 million germans as of 2015 more than 5.5 million Italian and over 34 million have Irish ancestry most all of these people are here for the same reasons as the people on our southern border

  17. - From DaZoo - Wednesday, Dec 7, 22 @ 4:35 pm:

    The statewide fertility rate being down would seem to support the narrative that Illinois population is decreasing. But then the late-released Census numbers showed Illinois being close to neutral population change, with localized growth and loss. There probably is similar localized decline and increase in births in Illinois. For instance, if I were to simply just go with the observations out my window (neighborhood) with resident turnover (older to younger), higher density of strollers, and elementary schools planning building additions I would say birth rates are up quite a bit. These studies help provide the bigger picture so overall needs can be addressed.

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