The population decline may continue to accelerate over the Next 10 years, in part due to rising college loan debt.
Cassandra Coey does not see her path out of debt. Coey graduated from college three years ago with a degree in Sociology, and she owes $60,000 in student loans.
She has not found a job in her field, so she is working in the food industry and earning just a thousand dollars a month.
“I look at everything that I have to pay, and I tell who I can pay, what I can pay, and usually it's not enough,” said Coey.
Coey’s interest on her debt has ballooned her bill to more than $80,000. Her plans to marry her boyfriend and have a family are on hold.
"It's probably going to be around mid-30s because of my debt,” added Coey.
Instead of three or four kids, Coey said she will have one or two.
There are fewer toddlers in daycare now, and American birth rates have fallen four years in a row.
If you add big debt loads for college graduates, birth rates could drop more.
A study from Rutgers University finds that four in ten college grads said debt has delayed big decisions, such as having kids.
But at the Ohio State University, population research and human development professor Dr. Anastasia Snyder does not buy all the numbers.
"Even with a high loan payment, repayment plan - people want children. They're going to have them,” said Snyder.
Snyder said people marry later and have fewer kids than a generation ago, but she also says that college grads with large debt make up only a small part of that trend.
"When you look at who goes to college, it's around 30 percent of the population. About 40 percent of those people never take out any student loans,” added Snyder.
But for Coey and her friends who are deeply in debt, kids seem like a luxury.
"There's a lot of other people that are dealing with this,” said Coey.
The Pew Research Center said the U.S. birth rate is the lowest in history. Meanwhile, U.S. college loan debt is around one trillion dollars.
Student loans cannot be forgiven by bankruptcy. The average debt for an OSU grad is around $25,000.
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