U.S. Birth Rate Drops To Lowest In Decades | On Point

May 23, 2018

On Point

04:54May 21, 2018

Guests:

Janet Adamy, news editor at the Wall Street Journal who covers demographics. (@janetadamy)

Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at The Evergreen State College. Author of “Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage” (2005). (@StephanieCoontz)

Emilio Parrado, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania who studies the U.S. Hispanic population, international migration, and demographics.

Highlights:

On the drop and the economy:

Adamy: “The numbers are pretty striking. We did a chart going back a hundred years, the 2017 birth rate: 60 babies per 1,000 women per year. That’s about half of what it was in the 1960s. So it’s a pretty dramatic drop.

This really all started with the 2008 recession. There was essentially a fertility crash after that. What we know from the research is when the economy gets bad, people put off having babies. But since then, the demographers I’ve spoken to estimate that there are 4.8 million fewer babies that have been born as a result of this fertility rate.

This imbalance creates a lot of pressure on social security, and Medicare. You don’t have the young workers paying into that program. Those programs face a lot of pressure.

“Even though the economy is quite a bit better than it was 10 years ago, you still have these lasting economic scars. For a lot of these people, it’s millennials who have put off having children.”

Janet Adamy

Even though the economy is quite a bit better than it was 10 years ago, you still have these lasting economic scars. For a lot of these people, it’s millennials who have put off having children. They are still digging themselves out of student loan debt, it’s become harder to buy a house, they look at the cost of childcare which is increasing beyond the rate of inflation. And they may have a good job and a good income now, but they haven’t dug themselves out of that hole that they found themselves in after the recession.

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