There is a midlife crisis starting in the US

Demographics are fate. For decades, America has enjoyed the economic and geopolitical consequences of a high birth rate. Between 1990 and 2010, U.S. fertility levels were higher than the average for any developed country except Israel, I Island and New Zealand.

So what does it mean that the US birth rate is on track to fall below the current trend rate in Europe? In 2007, before the sharp decline, the overall fertility rate in the United States, meant that the number of births a woman was expected to have in her lifetime, was 2.12. By 2019, before Covid-19 hit, it fell to 1.71.

Provisional CDC data from 2020 show that the overall birth rate from the period has fallen to a record low of 1.64, almost the rate in Europe over the past five years. If the current trend holds up, as it was likely to be given a lockdown last year (it’s a bit harder to get pregnant during a pandemic unless you’re already with a partner), then the New World could be there is less obesity than the Old earlier this year

Too much for what economist Nicholas Eberstadt called America “demographic exceptionalism”. For decades, the U.S. birth rate has helped boost buoy, which is a human activity and fertility, and state of the world. But according to a new report by the Global Aging Institute and Terry Group, titled “The End of U.S. Demographic Exceptionalism”, all the factors that drive America’s overweight-from immigration and religion. beliefs until long -time economic optimism – now in decline.

The report’s author, Richard Jackson, head of GAI, noted that a level of humility is needed by demographers (“no one has seen the arrival of the Baby Boom”). Yet there is little reason to think that the U.S. birth rate will return any time soon.

Yes, many post-Covid stimuli activate animal spirits. Even Millennials are “a scarred generation”, according to Jackson, who is aging during the severe financial crisis of 2008 and the pandemic. “People are more likely to have children if they feel they are economically secure,” she said. For young people who are loaded with loan, can’t buy houses and start families on the same schedule as their parents, that doesn’t feel right.

The decline in birth rates is even higher among Hispanics, attributed by Jackson and other experts to a sense of economic and cultural vulnerability, which was certainly elevated during Donald Trump’s presidential years. Net immigration, which boosts the overall fertility rate, has declined by nearly half of what it was five years ago, even as the cost of having a child and caring for it increased.

However, President Biden has made healthcare, education and child care a top priority for his administration. This is good for job creation and productivity, and can also help the fertility rate margins if women feel it is easier for them to balance work and family.

But the record of “pro-natal” policies to increase fertility has been found. Many European countries, for example, have much better social safety nets and state-funded child care systems than the US, and even small families have become the new norm.

It may be that stabilizing overall growth, and therefore a sense of economic optimism, is ultimately a better way to start the birth rate, an argument that Republicans worried Biden’s incentive plan was made.

This is in line with the fact that the U.S. needs a creative, bipartisan mindset to address the magnitude of its demographic slowdown, and the potential economic and geopolitical consequences. The declining demographic, and the costs associated with it (such as caring for the elderly and the burden of debt from Medicare and Social Security), is a major reason that Congress predicts the Budget Office shorter productivity and slower growth for the U.S. in the future.

Getting the women who got an unequal hit from Covid-19 unemployed back to work is an important way to turn the tide. But so is making immigration less restrictive, and finding ways to put seniors with high levels of education and experience back in the labor market. “Older people are not only the most underutilized resource in America, but also the fastest growing segment of the population,” Jackson said.

We need them, and they need the job. The post-pandemic asset boom coupled with labor force disruptions is bringing many boomers to retire faster than they could. But given that the median retirement savings in 2019 for Americans between the ages of 55 and 65 it’s just $ 144,000 per household, it’s hard to imagine that working the longest isn’t this new normal.

The public sector could help keep seniors out of work with policy tweaks such as reducing payroll taxes for the elderly, or by making Medicare, rather than private insurance, the healthcare priority for elderly Americans.

Today, private insurance is the first port of call for those still employed. This creates costs for companies, which may be willing to hire more elderly people if they also do not bear the direct burden of their care costs.

For most of its history, the U.S. has been concerned with young people. Its future can be explained by how old it is.

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