Since the beginning of the recession, many Americans have given up on having kids. It seems they also have given up on having pets.
Pets still are popular: 56 percent of all U.S. households owned a pet at the end of last year. But that share is down 2 percent from the end of 2006, according to the study. And pet ownership has fallen across all categories of animal: cats, dogs, birds, horses, specialty pets and exotic pets.
The U.S. population of dogs, cats, pet birds, and horses has plunged. There now are 3 percent fewer dogs, 9 percent fewer cats, 26 percent fewer pet birds and 33 percent fewer horses than before the recession.
Pets can be expensive. Cats and dogs cost more than $1,000 to take care of during the first year, and more than $500 per year after that, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). (Find more information about the cost of pets here.)
In a similar trend, the U.S. birth rate is projected to plunge to a 25-year low this year, after peaking before the recession, according to Demographic Intelligence. It costs between $12,290 to $14,320 per year to raise a child in a middle-income family, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, the median U.S. household's annual income was $50,020 as of January, according to Sentier Research, 8 percent less than at the end of 2007.
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