fertility rate

Birth Rates Falling to Record Low Could Destroy the U.S. Economy

Economists claim to be surprised that (relatively speaking) no one is having babies. They shouldn’t be.

The fact that no one is having babies could mean that the recession of 2007 will mark the end of the American nation. That may sound overly dramatic and I hope it doesn’t work out that way. But it is a distinct possibility.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal blog post,

The newest official tally from the National Center for Health Statistics showed an unexpected drop in the number of babies born in the U.S. in 2015. The report was a surprise: Demographers had generally expected the number of births to rise in 2015, as it had in 2014. Instead, the U.S. appears to still be stuck in something of an ongoing “baby bust” that started with the recession and housing collapse and has yet to reverse.

[…]

The general fertility rate fell in 2015 to tie the lowest level on record. Fertility, defined as the number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15-44, has never been lower than the rate recorded last year and in 2013.

The report was a surprise?

When the birth rate fell after the recession hit, no one was surprised. But the only reason to expect the birth rate to rise afterward is because the recovery is real and Americans are not impoverished by Obamacare, college debts, and a state-obstructed economy.

But the recovery is not real.

At his economic analysis blog, Mike Shedlock writes,

I fail to see why any economist should be surprised by this. A record number of millennials are living at home.

[…]

This is simply too obvious. So I have two questions:

  1. Do economists read anything or do they just believe in their models?

  2. If they do read, how come they cannot grasp simple, easy to understand ideas?

Unless something dramatically changes this will be a negative feedback loop. A bad economy discourages and prevents family formation. Then that declining birth rate produces worsening economic conditions.

This is now an international problem.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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