The mid-life crisis is beginning to take shape in the United States


Demography is destiny. For decades, the United States has enjoyed the economic and geopolitical gains brought about by the high birth rate. Between 1990 and 2010, the fertility level in the United States was higher than the average of any developed country, with the exception of Israel, Iceland and New Zealand.

So what does it mean that the birth rate in the United States is expected to fall below the recent trend rate in Europe? In 2007, just before the Great Depression, the total fertility rate in the United States was 2.12, meaning a woman’s expected number of births in her lifetime. By 2019, just before the Covid-19 attack, it had dropped to 1.71.

The 2020 interim data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the total fertility rate has since dropped to a record low of 1.64, roughly the same level as in Europe in the past five years. If the current trend continues, because it is likely to be blocked from last year (unless you are already with your partner, it will be more difficult to get pregnant during the pandemic), then the fertility in the new world may be lower than in the old world. year.

So many things Nicholas Eberstadt Known as the “population exceptionalism” of the United States. For decades, the birth rate in the United States has helped the growth of the buoy, which is a function of people, productivity, and global status. However, according to a new report entitled “The End of American Demographic Exceptionalism” published by the Global Institute on Aging and the Terry Group, all the factors driving American outlier birth-from immigration and religious beliefs to long-term economic optimism-are now All already existed. Is falling.

The report’s author, Richard Jackson, head of GAI, pointed out that demographers must maintain a humble attitude (“No one sees the baby boom coming”). However, there is no reason to believe that the birth rate in the United States will pick up in the short term.

Yes, the massive stimulation after Covid boosted the animal spirits. Jackson said, but millennials are “really scarred generations” who came of age during the severe financial crisis and pandemic in 2008.He said: “People tend to have children when they are financially secure.” debtThe inability to buy a house does not mean that you cannot start family life on the same schedule as your parents. It is elusive.

The birth rate of Hispanics has fallen particularly severely, and Jackson and other experts attribute it to economic and cultural fragility, which is bound to intensify during the xenophobic period of Donald Trump as president. . Net migration has increased the total fertility rate, and although the cost of childbirth and care has increased, net migration has fallen to about half of what it was five years ago.

Of course, President Biden has made healthcare, education, and childcare the top priorities of his administration. This is conducive to job creation and productivity, and if women think it is easier for them to balance work and family, it may also help increase the birth rate.

However, the “prenatal” policy to increase fertility has a mixed record. For example, many European countries have better social safety nets and state-sponsored childcare systems than the United States, and smaller families have become the new normal.

Perhaps in general, boosting growth and thus gaining a sense of economic optimism is ultimately a better way to increase the birth rate. This argument states that Republicans who are concerned about Biden’s stimulus plan are working on it.

This is the fact that the United States will need creative bipartisan thinking to address the scale of its population growth slowdown and the potential economic and geopolitical consequences. The decline in demographic data and the costs associated with it (such as the debt burden of caring for the elderly and medical insurance and social security) are the main reasons for this situation. Congressional Budget Office Forecast Decrease productivity in the United States and reduce future growth rates.

Returning to work women who have suffered disproportionately due to Covid-19-related unemployment is an important way to reverse this situation. But the same goes for reducing immigration restrictions and finding ways to return highly educated and experienced seniors to the labor market. Jackson said: “The elderly are not only the largest underutilized resource in the United States, but also the fastest growing part of the population.”

We need them, they need work. The asset boom after the pandemic and labor disruption have caused many baby boomers to retire early.But given Median retirement savings In 2019, for Americans between the ages of 55 and 65, each family’s income is only $144,000. It is hard to imagine that longer working hours are not the new normal.

The public sector can help the elderly enter the labor market through policy adjustments (such as lowering the elderly’s payroll taxes) or by making Medicare a priority medical measure for the elderly rather than private insurance.

Currently, private insurance is the first phone call for those still employed. This brings costs to the company, and if they do not bear the direct burden of medical expenses, they may be willing to hire more senior citizens.

For most of its history, the United States has been obsessed with youth. Its future may depend on its degree of aging.

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