The U.S. birthrate has fallen to the lowest level in 35 years…
About 3.75 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2019, down 1% from the prior year, provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed. The general fertility rate fell 2% to 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, its lowest level since the government began tracking the figure in 1909.The Wall Street Journal
This pretty much destroys the myth that people aren’t having kids because of their financial situation. For years populists have been arguing that poor economic conditions related to globalization had put downward pressure on childbirth and if we reversed those economic trends the birth rate would increase.
Well, President Trump did those those things and we had the best economy in decades especially for those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder and the birth rate continued to decline. Maybe it’s time we accept the fact that birth rates are declining because that’s what happens in fully developed economies. It’s what been happening in Europe for decades and even the data seems to bore this out…
Birthrates fell or held steady for women of all ages except those in their early 40s. Teenagers saw the sharpest drop, with a 5% decline in their birthrate. Since peaking in 1991, the teen birthrate has fallen 73%.
If birthrates are down in every category except for women in their 40s it tells me, and anyone else that is paying attention, that women are waiting to later in life to have children. In developed economies more men and women are going to college which delays childbirth for at least 4 years. Couples then usually want to get their careers started which could involve relocating, maybe do some traveling, and hopefully pay down their student debt. Once they are secure in their job and life they will decide to have children. This is not a bad a thing. It’s only bad thing because our entitlement system is based on there being far more workers than there are retirees. Entitlement reform is an entirely different conversation but it shouldn’t be impacting the birthrate discussion.
Birthrates declined in one of the best economies we have had in decades busting the myth that economics was leading the decline. Maybe it’s time we accept this fact and then ask ourselves if it is really that bad?