Lower birth rates can herald welcome social trends: fewer teen pregnancies, smaller families among people too poor to afford them, or more people attending college before becoming parents. But for local and state governments, they also have financial implications.
For example, public school districts receive money based on the number of students they serve; fewer school children in a community mean less school funding. If birth rates drop and enrollment declines, a district’s budget might shrink, even though costs remain the same for maintaining school infrastructure.
It’s one of a host of reasons for financial stress in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oakland school districts. For instance, Los Angeles County is projected to be down 19,624 births over the next two decades. At $17,423 per pupil, that translates to $342 million in less revenue for the county’s schools.