Historically Low Birth Rate Has Consequences for Housing

A pregnant person working at a laptop

© damircudic - E+ / Getty Images

The nation’s birth rate is at more than a 100-year low and is at the lowest level since the National Center for Health Statistics first started collecting such data. The lower birth rate could have a future impact on housing demand, Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of REALTORS®, writes for the association’s blog.

Birth rates have been declining since 2007 but have been falling at a faster clip since the pandemic.

A line graph showing the U.S. fertility rate from 1909 to 2020

“The baby bust has likely been fueled by economic and health concerns of women during the pandemic,” Lautz writes. “As some families saw women leave the workforce in the last year, it may not have been financially possible to add a new baby to the family. Some women may not have felt comfortable going into a doctor’s office during pregnancy or had limited family support systems due to safety concerns of COVID-19.”

The birth rate can have implications for real estate. Having a baby is often a leading housing decision, prompting new families to buy a home or desire a larger home, Lautz notes. The decline in childbirth is coinciding with fewer home buyers with children in the home.

In 1985, 58% of buyers had children under the age of 18. That percentage has since fallen to 33%, Lautz notes.