Sunday, March 1, 2015


The Pew Research Center has published several articles about what happens to birth rates in times of economic downturn. As you might expect, they decline, as families decide to put off child bearing until economic times improve:

From the article by Gretchen Livingston and D'Vera Corn: "The U.S. birth rate, which had been relatively stable or rising, began falling after 2007, when the Great Recession began and the decline persisted even after the official end of the recession in 2009."

Though the authors further indicate that birth rates appear to be stabilizing, we looked at Ada County birth rates (we've always used them in our calculations of kindergarten size) during the recession to see the potential effect on District kindergarten enrollment. Here are the birth rates for the past nine years:

The Boise District typically receives about a third of the Ada County Live Births five years later. So, for example, in 2012,  the kindergarten class was 1829, 32% of the live births in 2007. In 2013, there were 1918 kindergartners, 34% of the live births in 2008.

So, knowing that we would likely receive around a third of the live births again in 2014, we were able to anticipate a smaller kindergarten class. That class came in at 1763, 34% of the live births in 2009.

Here are the Boise District kindergarten class numbers since 1998, with projections based on live birth rates for the next few years included:

We'll see if the projections play out as well as they have in the past few years. If they do, we can expect flat enrollment numbers rather than the substantial growth which had occurred in district enrollment from 2008 to 2013. District enrollment grew by almost 1100 students during those years, but declined slightly in 2014.