Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do hard times boost the birthrate?

Is the downturn in the housing market related to the rise in the number of babies being born in New Zealand?

Economic commentator Bernard Hickey thinks it is. In an article in today's Manawatu Standard, he says he has watched birth numbers increase at a time when houses have been at their least affordable level since late 2005.

"We suspect there is a correlation," Mr Hickey says. "People who were thinking of having a family, but were waiting and saving [with the intention of buying] a house first, have decided to rent and have a baby anyway."

The article says that, at Palmerston North Hospital and the Horowhenua Health Centre, 169 more babies were born in the past 12 months than two years ago.

Statistics New Zealand says 2530 more babies were delivered around New Zealand in the year to June compared with the previous year.

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