How severe has the economic recession since 2007 been? How thin the recovery?
Enough that the birth rate, which partially reflects financial stability vs. stress, has fallen off more dramatically than at any other time in American history, and much more than experts even expected.
In fact, the nation has fallen sharply below replacement rate since the time of the 2008 crisis.
The conundrum is that it is a growing population that corresponds with economic growth, and decline inhibits the social signals that encourage more births (like feeling secure enough to afford the extra expenses and effort of a child).
Though a slight rebound shows up in the numbers, experts see no sign of things turning around in the long term… and that will continue to significantly impact our financial future.
via the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. is experiencing a baby lull that looks set to last for years… a sharp drop in child bearing that started with the onset of the recession in 2007 […] more-worrisome signs that the U.S. may not soon return to its pre-recession average of about two babies for every adult woman. Some demographers have pared their forecasts for future births because an expected post-recession baby boom has been smaller than anticipated.
The leveling-off in births is weighing on sales at children’s stores, prompting hospitals to rework their birth wards and putting pressure on builders of single-family homes, executives and economists say.
“Everything is slower than we expected,” said Sam Sturgeon… he predicts that the total fertility rate won’t go above 1.9 babies per woman for the next five years or longer. An ideal birth rate is around 2.1 babies per woman, demographers say, since that’s the rate that’s needed to replace the current levels of population.
With so much propaganda about over-population and the need for fewer people on the planet, it is no wonder that the upcoming generations share a different attitude about having children anyway, despite the mixed message for the economy.
The same millenials who are having trouble finding a job, paying student loans and moving out of their parents’ basement are the same 20- and 30- somethings who are putting off having children, or choosing not to have them at all.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, this is having “ripple effects” in the economy, and becoming a serious drag on growth:
Sales of single-family homes are being weighed down by what Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, calls “the great delay,” the trend of millennials postponing milestones like marriage and having kids. Other ripple effects take years to show up, such as the drag of having fewer young workers paying into Social Security and Medicare, said Mr. Mather of the Population Reference Bureau.
At Babies “R” Us, part of the Toys “R” Us national chain of children’s stores, “the assumption that we’ll make is that the market is not going to grow” as a result of near-term changes in the fertility rate, said Reg McLay, senior vice president at Babies “R” Us.
“A part of that is the biological clock, but part of it is if you’ve reached a certain lifestyle by the time you’re 35, having a child may be more disruptive than it was if you were 25,” said Nan Marie Astone, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.
Given the current state of affairs, which includes unaccountable government spending and generations worth of debt, American life resembles one big Ponzi scheme.
With fewer people than expected in the younger generations, there will be less hands on deck to pay for the exploding financial costs of aging Baby Boomers, and more and more pressure on those who are already struggling to make it.
Economically, they are keeping the ball rolling in part by shifting responsibility and payment due always to the next generation in line…. so it should come as no surprise that things get pretty screwed up when people start exiting the line and there’s no one left to hold the bag.
Worse, it seems those at the top may have done this on purpose to meet their long term agenda. Just check out the words of David Rockefeller: