By Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Raising children today isn’t cheap.

“It’s expensive. Keeping up with the Jones’s and keeping the kids in activities,” said Michelle Balisalisa as she was having lunch with her kids in Franklin Square Park.

Those costs only seem to be rising, and new birth numbers suggest it’s leaving more couples to wait till later in life to have children.

“We had our first at 32,” said Chris Lledo.

“We wanted to be set before we started. We wanted to travel and do a few things before we started having kids,” Chris’ wife Lisa said. “We’d like to have another one, but it’s an on going debate with us.”

And now new studies show the economy is also factoring into couples decisions.

Studies show babies being born now can affect the population 20 years from now. Marketers are also paying close attention to birth numbers because they affect the sale of baby items. Over the last five years, as the economy fell, so did the number of new births in the United States.

According to Demographic Intelligence, a company that produces quarterly birthing forecasts, the number of births per woman fell 12 percent since 2007, when the average American woman was having 2.12 children. This year that number is 1.87 and next year’s projection is 1.86.

“Those groups that may be harder hit by the economic downturn are delaying child bearing, but they have the luxury of doing so when they are in their early twenties,” says Dr. Suleena Kalra, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hispanics have seen the biggest decline, while Whites and Asian have actually seen an increase.

“Women who are in their later thirties are probably having more kids due to a career and a number of other factors,” Kulra says.

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