The Pandemic Baby Bust; Birth Rates Drop Far Below Replacement Level
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that births in the US declined 4% between 2019 and 2020, the steepest annual decline since 1973. The nations fertility rate slid to 1.64 children per woman, far below the replacement rate of 2.1 per woman. The pandemic seems to have exacerbated a trend that began several decades ago.
The Hill: "Most of the largest declines in birth rates, however, came in December, November and October, about nine months after the pandemic began and a sign that the crisis may have delayed some parents’ decisions to have children."
And, the declines in the last half of 2020 were fairly consistent across the nation and among all racial and ethnic groups.
The Hill: "Today, lower birth rates are occurring across racial, ethnic and economic lines. Births among white women and Black women dropped 6 percent in the last half of 2020 compared with 2019; among Asian American women, births plummeted by 12 percentage points; and and births dropped by 5 percentage points among women of Hispanic descent."
As we have noted before, America's baby bust will lead to an aging population, slower growth, an extremely tight labor market, and fewer workers to fund entitlements like Social Security and Medicaid for seniors. The entire developed world, including many of the Newly Industrialized Countries [NICS] like Brazil and China face the same challenge.
However, America may escape the worst effects of population decline because it still attracts many talented immigrants from across the globe.
The Conversation: "Migrants tend to be young, and to work. They contribute to the economy and bring dynamism to the society, along with supporting existing retirees, reducing the burden on current workers."
However, there are worrying signs there too.
The Conversation: "... this source of demographic strength is at risk. Net migration into the U.S. declined by 40% from 2015 to 2019, likely at least in part because of unwelcoming government policies."
"If this is not reversed, the country faces a demographic future more like that of Germany or even Japan, with a rapidly aging population and the economic and social problems that come with it."
Adrian Raftery, Professor of Statistics and Sociology at the University of Washington has a wonderful piece in the Conversation regarding immigration and US population trends titled, The dip in the US birthrate isn’t a crisis, but the fall in immigration may be. Professor Raftery's article lays out the the choices we face regarding immigration levels, economic growth, and population trends.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content