After the Great Recession of 2008, a sour mood swept across not only our country but the entire world. People lost their jobs, their homes, their cars, and sometimes more. Their savings accounts were decimated. Needless to say, starting a family wasn’t top of mind. As a result, the birth rate began to fall.
With that said, however, stocks have been on a steady upward trajectory since then, job openings are at record highs, millennials are starting to buy houses and move to the suburbs, and overall sentiment is positive. One thing that’s missing, however, are the birds and the bees, meaning Americans total fertility rate is still falling. According to The Economist, “the number of children the average woman will bear, has fallen from 2.12 to 1.77. It is now almost exactly the same as England’s rate, and well below that of France.”
While the magazine jokes that getting into Harvard will be easier, a lower fertility rate could have dire consequences for our country, one of which would be the debt burden. The Economist notes that “a smaller working-age population [will make] Social Security (public pensions) less affordable and means the national debt is carried on fewer shoulders.”
Just recently the US Census Bureau released new projections, which pointed to an aging America. According to the Daily Mail, adults 65 and older will soon outnumber children for the first time in America’s history. By 2030 all baby boomers will be older than age 65, and one in every five Americans will be retirement age. Not only does this put pressure on our healthcare system, but with a shrinking workforce, and thus lower tax base, the dilemma could cause stagnation and all sorts of unforeseen economic consequences.
America, is not alone, however. This is a problem that other rich countries around the world are facing as well. As mentioned above, England and France are grappling with similar issues and Germany’s population is aging as well. The most well-known society with a population that is growing exponentially older is Japan. According to Business Insider, there are now more adult diapers sold than baby diapers in Japanese supermarkets.