California's birthrate tumbled last year to its lowest point since the Great Depression, new state figures show, yet another indication that the difficult economy is reshaping everyday life.
California families are looking at their personal finances, their job security, their prospects for the future – and increasingly deciding now is not the time to have a baby.
Marriages are down, foreclosures are up, job openings are scarce and kids are expensive. The average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is about $225,000, federal data show.
"A lot of the people I see say, 'One (child) is enough: It's all I can afford,' " said Anna Peak, owner of Babies & Beyond, a children's-goods store in the Land Park section of Sacramento.
Other, more permanent changes also are taking place. The children of immigrants are having fewer kids than their parents did. The population as a whole is getting older. Couples are waiting longer to start families.
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