5 U.S. States Where COVID-19 Slashed Birth Rates

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/07/06/5-u-s-states-where-covid-19-slashed-birth-rates/

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The pandemic has killed about 0.9% of Americans over age 65, and it has also reduced the number of babies born in 2020 by 4%, to 3.6 million, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

That’s the biggest drop since 1973, when fear of overpopulation led many U.S. mothers to give up on the idea of having more than two children.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 6 July 2021

Publication Site: Think Advisor

China’s People Problem Swings From Too Many to a ‘Decline That Sees No End’

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-people-problem-swings-from-too-many-to-a-decline-that-sees-no-end-11620903602

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Births in China plunged 18% in 2020, though Covid-19 may have played a part, and, if so, fewer newborns might arrive in 2021 as well.

China will remain enormous, but the figures signal a waning of the demographic trends that came to define its modern era, with its huge working-age population spurring 40-plus straight years of economic expansion. A drop in household size, for example, to 2.6 last year from 3.1 a decade earlier, highlights the effects of the birth restrictions since about 1980.

The challenge for China now is its shrinking working-age population versus its growing elderly one, represented by only 12 million annual births, a fractional number for such a populous country.

In the latest census, 63% of Chinese were ages 15 to 59, compared with 70% in 2010, while nearly 19% in 2020 were 60 years old or above, versus 13% a decade earlier.

Author(s): James T. Areddy, Liyan Qi

Publication Date: 13 May 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Covid Baby Bust Has Governments Rattled

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Of course, there’s a case to be made that fewer people in advanced economies is a good thing. But arrayed against that are all the “because groaf” forces. The two drivers of growth are demographic growth, as in more people, and productivity increases. National leaders are afraid of becoming the new Japan, having an aging population and falling in the “size of economy” pecking order, when Japan has weathered a financial system crisis and implosion of real estate prices with remarkable grace. And the demographic time bomb? The feared dependency ratio? More older Japanese work. Japanese even more so than Westerners prize attachment to communities and organizations, so it would probably suit those who are able to handle it to remain in the saddle or get a part-time job.

But the big point is that the Covid impact on child-bearing is widespread and looks set to continue for quite a while. The old solution in advanced economies for low birth rates was immigration. But that’s now become fraught. First is that neoliberalism-induced widening income disparity means those on the bottom are extremely insecure. Bringing more people in to them sure looks like a mechanism for keeping their crappy wages down. Second is advanced economies now eschew assimilation as if it were racist. But what did you expect, say, when Germany brought in Syrian refugees, who skewed male and young, and didn’t even arrange to teach them German? The notion that there’s a public sphere, where citizens hew to national norms versus a private sphere seems to have been lost (having said that, I don’t understand the fuss about headscarves; Grace Kelly wore them, so why should a religious intent matter?).

Author(s): Yves Smith

Publication Date: 5 March 2021

Publication Site: naked capitalism