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Recent Trends in U.S. Birth Rate Spell Economic Trouble

Politics / Demographics Jul 09, 2013 - 02:20 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Tara Clarke writes: A couple weeks ago I came across an interesting article by Lauren Sandler called "The Economic Reason for Having Just One Child."

Many American women who choose to stop at one child experience pressure - and even harsh, negative judgment - from others.

Mainly, mothers of only children can be seen as lazy or selfish.

But Ms. Sandler discusses how her decision to raise an only child has had economic and lifestyle benefits to her and her family.

To her point, the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study on 35,000 mothers and found that those raising an only child were happiest; each additional child effectively reduced a mother's feeling of well-being.

It's frightening to realize that American mothers of fewer children are more contented, when you take a look at international demographics.

Here is why I say it's frightening:

Last week, my colleague Greg Madison covered economic issues related to low birth rates in Russia, China, Israel, and Japan.

Well, he didn't call them "issues" - he actually described these countries "demographic time bombs" because of the havoc low birth rates are beginning to wreak on their respective economies.

For instance, you've probably already seen some data related to China's One Child Policy. It created a massively top-heavy inverted age pyramid, laden with gender imbalance.

The hugely outnumbering younger population is increasingly stifled by the aged population it must support.

Now, I'm not saying that in the U.S., we are facing anything even close to China's One Child Policy.

But, according to the CDC, birth rates have dropped by 1% between 2011 and 2012.

In fact, the U.S. birthrate has steadily declined by approximately 9% since reaching a historic high in 2007.

And, as I discussed earlier, we are now seeing that mothers of fewer children are generally much happier than mothers of larger broods.

Combine all of this with student debt in this country being completely out of control, Obamacare hitting the pockets of our younger population the most, the dismal job market...

You can see why young people are having fewer children, and waiting longer to have them.

But to what end?

America has dropped below the population replacement rate of 2.1 live births per woman. Latest figures show that we have a birthrate of only 1.93. It means that America's population will need higher immigration to even think of meeting the unfunded liabilities of our entitlement programs.

But immigration alone will not solve our population woes.

Many Europeans say that the more minuscule birthrate on the continent means that they have lost hope for their future. Are Americans saying the same thing?

Source :

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

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