US fertility rates collapse

Women in the United States are having fewer children and at older ages than at any time in the last 30 years. This applies to all races and for both rural and urban America, including Hispanics. Between 2007 and 2017 the total fertility rate fell by 18% in large metropolitan areas, 16% in smaller metro areas, and 12% in rural areas, The biggest drop in the birthrate has been among teenagers (whose peak in the rate occured in 1991, and has fallen ever since) and people in their 20s. From 2007 to 2017 the birthrate of Hispanic women dropped between 26% – 30%, and is now beneath replacement rate.

If the birthrate age is too high, young people can’t find jobs; if it is too low, the economy contracts and a smaller broup of young people have to support a large retired population.

Germany and Japan have both experienced large drops in population, but have managed their workforces to maintain high productivity. The key is education, which is not valued by many people on the American Right and is starved of money and resources in areas all over the US.
Those visiting the zuS from countries shich take ecucation seriously, are appalled at the ignorance of people about the Constitution and the government system, about science, the environment, and even the writing skills. Something needs to be done urgently, but this takes money, and the country has a massive and growing deficit. The people who are cossetted and spoiled are the super-rich.

So why is the birthrate dropping? One can point to stagnant incomes, job insecurity, sky- high health costs, and lack of affordable housing. These are all factors, but I suspect that one motive for avoiding children is a gloomy, negative view of the future – global climate change, probable huge movements of displaced populations, political instability, warfare, and a breakdown of law and order. I personally wouldn’t have children were I young- for all the above reasons. Can you imagine current governments having the motivation and determination to do something positive about safeguarding the future? Nor can I. Young Americans are just being smart.

One Comment

  1. Across the world, it is generally more developed countries that have lower birthrates. Afghanistan and North Africa have the world’s highest birthrates- not regions we ought to emulate. A declining birth rate is usually the result of better educational outcomes, particularly for women, as well as increasing affluence, better healthcare and wider access to family planning. I welcome the decline in fertility, not least because it’ll be necessary to avert climate change. And as you quite rightly point out, lower birthrates need not be a disaster- Germany and Japan are in many ways far better governed countries than the United States.

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