Falling birth rates

Date posted: December 31, 2012

A recently released report indicates that the birth rate in the U.S. has been dropping. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden provides details on the report and related implications.

“Well, we did see in the latest report a dropping birth rate. The numbers are for 2010, and it’s actually continuing a trend in a lower birth rate in the country since the year 2007. The birth rate fell for all demographic groups across the board.

“Now the question is, Why? Well, clearly part of the reason is going to be the recession. So, we don’t know if this drop in the birth rate is temporary or if it’s the beginning of a long-term trend.

“Now one implication indeed …, if this falling birth rate does continue to drop, one implication is whether the U.S. is going to drop into the same pattern as most European countries as well as China and Japan. There, what we’ve seen are birth rates falling below what’s called replacement rate. That is resulting in the population actually going down.

“Now although some people may look at that positively, there are certainly dramatic social as well as economic implications – economic implication being are you going to have workers and also you’re going to have a much more aged population.

“So, this is something that we want to keep an eye on. The birth rate is a very, very key element in the economy, but not just demographically but economically. So, we need to watch these reports as they come out in future years.”

 

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