When the economy is in a recession, people face job loss, which may affect children's education, living arrangements, social activities and even fertility. Once the economy shows signs of coming out of a recession, it takes time to rebuild confidence in consumers before they will comfortably engage in expensive vacations or buy a second or third car. Everyone is affected by the economy in some way. In some instances, the changes can be profound enough to last for decades.
According to Stephanie Coontz, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, during an economic recession, women delay having children. During the 2010 recession, there were 200,000 fewer births by women aged 20 to 34 then there were in 2008 even though the number of women in this age group grew by more than 1 million, according to Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute.
During a weak economy, businesses may not be able to afford to keep all of their employees. After a job loss or cut back in income, families may find it challenging to afford their children's college education. Children may feel the impact of financial struggles at school when families are not able to provide adequate health care, summer activities or stability with residence.
To keep costs down, couples avoid divorces when there is lack of confidence in the economy to potentially affect employment. As a result, more couples are living together. During the recession in 2010, there were about 65,000 fewer divorces than in 2008, according to Stephanie Coontz. More people are sharing their homes with other relatives, climbing from 6.7 percent in 2006 to 7.2 percent in 2010. Sharing space with nonrelatives increased from 5.4 percent to 5.8 percent.
When a person has a hard time finding a job, he spends time on self-improvement courses and inexpensive entertainment. During the Depression in the 1930s, people would listen to the radio or play board games. In the 1950s, people in difficult financial situations would continue to stay home for leisure. Today, people find entertainment through free content on the Internet or taking leisurely walks rather than planning expensive vacations.