Number of Births at Parkland Dropping Fast

ParklandDeliveries.jpg
Parkland
The graph above shows the number of babies delivered each year at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Notice the steep downward trajectory, from 15,800 in 2008 to a projected 10,700 in 2013. That's a 32-percent drop or, in layman's terms, a shit-load fewer babies.

I noticed this almost a month ago, back when the Dallas County Commissioners Court was preparing for a June 19 hearing on Parkland's budget, but I sat on it while I tried to get figures from other local hospitals to put things in perspective. I never heard back but will forge on nevertheless.

Parkland spokeswoman April Foran said the economy has caused families to hold off on procreation. "A lot of our previous patients, they tell us their husbands work in construction" but have been able to find jobs given the economy. No job means no money, and raising a kid is quite expensive. Also, fewer teens are getting pregnant.

That's true as far as it goes. The U.S. birth rate has slowed dramatically since the recession began. But crunching the numbers a bit shows that Parkland's births have dropped more than twice as fast. Per a Pew study from last year, the number of births nationwide dropped by 5.6 percent between 2008 and 2010. During the same period, Parkland experienced a 14.2-percent drop.

It's clear that the economy doesn't explain all of that, so what's going on? Are patients being scared away by the prospect of dirty specula? Are more women deciding that other hospitals (e.g. Presbyterian, where my wife will deliver in October) are more comfortable? My guess is yes to both questions, but it's hard to know.

Whatever the reason, Foran said the decline is not having a major impact on Parkland's operations.

"It's still business as usual," she said. "We're still predicting 12,000 (deliveries in 2012). That's still more than any other hospital in town."


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8 comments
Branden Helms
Branden Helms

ANd they didn't repay taxpayers like the auto industry has.

Lone Stranger
Lone Stranger

Maybe it because Obama administration has deported more illegals than any Republican administration. You really really live up to the stereotypical image of a conservative no nothing.

Chiggers!
Chiggers!

I just want to know if Phelps gave you permission to use his avatar for this story.

Anon
Anon

sort of like how the US taxpayer bailed out nearly the entire savings and loan industry in Texas?

Mike
Mike

Read the printed Observer this week. Unfair Park said it had a "little bit of Heaven.". Not quite Shangri-La, but on the way.

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

Very interesting stuff, Eric.  Good find.  I didn't realize the drop had been that dramatic. The anti-Mexican zealots have won.  Good work, guys. So how's Farmers Branch doing now?  I haven't been there in awhile (well, ever), but I imagine it is now a veritable Shangri-La; a recently purified bastion of artistic creativity and intellectualism. Has to be, right?

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

"Dallas is the Detroit of Texas." Sweet.  Detroit has some really cool areas and a booming downtown area.  Have you been there?  I'll take downtown Detroit and Dallas any day over your apparently Mexican-free utopias in Frisco et al.

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