Was it something in the water?
Posted on 10/15/16
By Melissa Anderson
Was it the long, cold winter and record setting wet summer? Whatever the reason, Langdon and the surrounding communities have experienced a baby boom to rival that of the post-war 1950s with over 60 babies being born in the last year and several still to come in the following months.
Of the 34 mothers who attended the group photo on Monday, October 10, the majority had or are expecting boys. Two of the mothers to receive a little bundle of joy were in their 40s, Lori Peterson, 40, and Kacy Forest, 42, making them the oldest moms in the group.
With all the babies, an already strained daycare system will really feel the pressure.
“I think one of the biggest impacts is going to be on daycare availability,” explained Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA)Director Shannon Duerr.
“Cavalier County will need more daycare spots. I would encourage anyone who is interested in starting a daycare to contact me as CCJDA is able to use our programs to help licensed daycares.”
CCJDA can also help connect those interested with state programs.
Another impact that could be on the horizion is housing. Duerr explained that after the national baby boom, many of the suburbs started developing as people were looking for bigger homes to raise their children.
“I believe we could see some of that impact in our community as well,” Duerr said.
With all the little ones comes the need for baby items. The economic impact of a baby boom will be felt throughout the community as local stores reap the benefits through increased sales in baby food, diapers, formula, and other items that babies need.
As the babies grow up they will continue to impact the community as their parents continue to purchase the things kids need and want.
“It would be interesting to compare Langdon’s baby boom to the national baby boom our country saw in the post-war economy,” Duerr noted.
An article that appeared in Life magazine during 1958 referred to the baby boom as a “built-in recession cure.”
“I think that the national impacts of that baby boom could be reflected on a much smaller scale in our community,” Duerr stated.
With the expected increase in sales, Duerr believes that municipalities should watch sales tax collection numbers next year and see if this boom affected the area communities in the same way.
“Sales tax collection is one of the most quantifiable ways we can track impact on local businesses,” Duerr said.
The increased birth rate is also an indicator of a community growing younger. The population of the under 5 age bracket was up from 2010-2015, and this boom will have that population increase again from 2015-2016.
“If this trend continues, the population loss that Cavalier County has experienced over the last three decades could reverse,” Duerr stated.
From 1980 to 2000, Cavalier County lost 40 percent of its population. Since 2000 the overall population loss has not been as dramatic, but the overall population for the county continues to fall.
“However, since 2000 the interesting thing we have seen is that the population of the 20-24 age brackets and the 25-34 age brackets have grown despite the overall population loss,” Duerr explained.
“I believe this baby boom is a result of the growth in those demographics which lead to the increase in the under 5 population our county has seen since 2010,” Duerr said.
This kind of population growth, Duerr believes, will make the communities look more vibrant and appealing. The schools in the area are adding classes while other schools in the state are consolidating.
“I think this will make our school district attractive to individuals looking to relocate,” Duerr said.
The baby boom in the area presents a whole new set of challenges for the Langdon Area School District as Superintendent Daren Christianson explains.
“The baby boom in the Langdon area is exciting but does create some planning concerns,” Christianson said, “As a district we need to make sure we can provide the services that are needed for our children as they become school-age.”
The district receives compensation from the state based on a per student basis so as these children get to school-age, LASD should be able to look forward to an increase in funding from the state, but that is if the funding format remains consistent over the next five to 10 years.
With so many students close in age and grades, the staffing and planning for their education does become more difficult and expensive as the district would need to provide appropriate staffing and educational materials.
“When we purchase new curriculum/books we generally try to buy enough for the largest classes who will use those materials,” Christianson stated.
As the student numbers change from grade level to grade level the amount of teachers needed in that grade level may change.
“If this baby boom is a one-time bump in our enrollment numbers, the increase number of staff required would move through the system with them,” Christianson explained.
As the students move up in the grades, the school may have a teacher who would teach this group of students in 1st grade and then again in 2nd grade and so on if the number of students in the grades following do not require the same number of teachers.
“If the baby boom continues that will create a new set of challenges,” Christianson stated, ”It is nice to see all of the babies born into our community as it is a sign of a healthy community looking to the future.”
Whatever the reason for the baby boom, residents and the community are in for an adorable year.