- The US Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s National Centre for Health Statistics recently confirmed that the number of babies born in 2018 fell to the lowest level in 32 years.
- The number of births in the year was 3,788,235 – down 2% from 2017.
- A major finding of the report is that fertility levels are reaching record lows – with the US now at 1.73 (1,728 births per thousand women)
- Some of this is due to good news (for instance teen births are down)
- Putting the numbers in context – fertility rates in Europe are even lower (1.58), with Southern Europe even lower still (1.3), which is lower than the oft-quoted Japan (1.44)
Analysis & Comments
- Demographics is becoming an increasing problem for many western countries
- Why does this worry me – its partly about the contribution of population increases to GDP growth (basically more workers). This is especially important given the apparent issues around per worker productivity growth
- In addition, there is the healthcare angle. As people live longer they consume more healthcare resources (the data on this is scary)- and with fewer new workers coming through the question of who pays for it gets tougher to answer
- One big offset for the US is immigration (less so for Europe)