Charted: The Global Decline of Fertility Rates

Link: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/charted-the-global-decline-of-fertility-rates/

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Over the last 50 years, fertility rates have dropped drastically around the world. In 1952, the average global family had five children—now, they have less than three.

This graphic by Pablo Alvarez uses tracked fertility rates from Our World in Data to show how rates have evolved (and largely fallen) over the past decades.

What’s The Difference Between Fertility Rates and Birth Rates?

Though both measures relate to population growth, a country’s birth rate and fertility rate are noticeably different:

  • Birth Rate: The total number of births in a year per 1,000 individuals.
  • Fertility Rate: The total number of births in a year per 1,000 women of reproductive age in a population.

Author(s): Pablo Alvarez

Publication Date: 10 Jun 2022

Publication Site: Visual Capitalist

U.S. Births Increase for First Time Since 2014

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-births-increase-for-first-time-since-2014-11653364861

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U.S. births increased last year for the first time in seven years, according to federal figures out on Tuesday that offer the latest indication the pandemic baby bust was smaller than expected.

American women had about 3.66 million babies in 2021, up 1% from the prior year, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. It was the first increase since 2014. The rebound spanned age groups, with birthrates rising for every cohort of women age 25 and older.

Births still remain at historically low levels after peaking in 2007 and then plummeting during the recession that began at the end of that year. The total fertility rate — a snapshot of the average number of babies a woman would have over her lifetime — was 1.66 last year, up from 1.64 the prior year, when it fell to the lowest level since the government began tracking it in the 1930s.

Author(s): Janet Adamy and Anthony DeBarros

Publication Date: 24 May 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

Births: Provisional Data for 2021

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/vsrr020.pdf

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Methods—Data are based on 99.94% of all 2021 birth records received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics as of February 10, 2022. Comparisons are made with final 2020 data and earlier years.

Results—The provisional number of births for the United States in 2021 was 3,659,289, up 1% from 2020 and the first increase in the number of births since 2014. The general fertility rate was 56.6 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, up 1% from 2020 and the first increase in the rate since 2014. The total fertility
rate was 1,663.5 births per 1,000 women in 2021, up 1% from 2020. Birth rates declined for women in age groups 15–24, rose for women in age groups 25–49, and was unchanged for adolescents aged 10–14 in 2021. The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 declined by 6% in 2021 to 14.4 births per 1,000 females;
rates declined for both younger (aged 15–17) and older (aged 18–19) teenagers. The cesarean delivery rate rose to 32.1% in 2021; the low-risk cesarean delivery rate also rose to 26.3%. The preterm birth rate rose 4% in 2021 to 10.48%, the highest rate reported since 2007.

Author(s): Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Joyce A. Martin, M.P.H., and Michelle J.K. Osterman, M.H.S.,
Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics

Publication Date: May 2022

Publication Site: CDC

Why Elon Musk thinks civilization could crumble without more babies

Link: https://www.deseret.com/2022/5/26/23142871/elon-musk-population-falling-birthrates-japan-south-korea-us-fertility-italy

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Elon Musk thinks human civilization will fall apart unless people have more babies — and he’s expressed particular worries about Italy, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. But he has some concerns about the United States, too.

For weeks, Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, the acquirer of Twitter in a $44 billion deal and a father himself, has been tweeting about birthrate declines in America and abroad.

“At risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birth rate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist,” Musk tweeted on May 7, according to TheStreet. “This would be a great loss to the world.”

Author(s): Lois M. Collins

Publication Date: 26 May 2022

Publication Site: Deseret News

Baby bust: economic stimulus helps births rebound from coronavirus pandemic

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/32436917-00b8-447d-8d6c-41f4be72b03f?accessToken=zwAAAYA7wc2Wkc8yQ2kXALhEfdONbEH0vnKwPw.MEYCIQCFBH5WrakQgRbrgONBrhQRQnrxaYYTg1X8IXTM2IkKsgIhAP6ebnRh2QH5MftGwbJQho_8W3OrJhT_fi3J_mwJO02F&sharetype=gift?token=1738330e-13c3-4b99-8852-a179ac664411

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The number of births in advanced economies has largely rebounded to levels before the coronavirus pandemic, a Financial Times analysis shows, a recovery that experts say was partly because of stimulus policies deployed to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis.

Births began to fall sharply in late 2020 after Covid-19 took hold and people were confined to their homes in lockdown, worsening an already perilous demographic trend of population decline in wealthy nations.

The trend mirrored drops during the 1918 flu pandemic, the Great Depression and the global financial crisis in 2008. But an analysis of national data shows a rapid rebound in most developed countries.

…..

The global fertility rate peaked at five in 1960 and has since been in freefall. As a result, demographers believe that, after centuries of booming population growth, the world is on the brink of a natural population decline.

According to a Lancet paper published in 2020, the world’s population will peak at 9.7bn in about 2064, dropping to 8.7bn around the end of the century. About 23 nations can expect their populations to halve by 2100: Japan’s population will fall from a peak of 128mn in 2017 to less than 53mn; Italy’s from 61mn to 28mn.

Low fertility rates set off a chain of economic events. Fewer young people leads to a smaller workforce, hitting tax receipts, pensions and healthcare contributions.

Author(s): Federica Cocco, Lyman Stone

Publication Date: 18 Apr 2022

Publication Site: Financial Times

More Than An Insolvency Date: What Else To Know About The Social Security And Medicare Trustees’ Reports

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2021/09/01/more-than-an-insolvency-date-what-else-to-know-about-the-social-security-and-medicare-trustees-reports/

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This year, Social Security’s deficit is unusually high due to lower revenues and higher benefits: 1.75%. In 2040, the deficit climbs to 3.70% rather than 3.54%. In 2080, the deficit stands at 4.87% rather than 4.59%.

Put another way, if there were no Trust Fund accounting mechanism now, the OASI program would have been able to pay 93% of benefits. This would drop to 76% in 2035 – 2040 – 2045, then drop further to being able to pay 70% of benefits.

What’s more, this year, the actuaries changed several assumptions. They assume that by the year 2036, fertility rates will increase to 2.00 children per woman, an increase from the 2020 report’s assumption of 1.95. They also assume a long-term unemployment rate of 4.5% rather than 5%. At the same time, they calculate alternate projections with more pessimistic assumptions, including a continuingly low fertility rate (1.69), a higher rate of mortality improvement (that is, longer-lived recipients), a higher rate of unemployment (5.5%), and others. In these alternate calculations, the 2040 deficit becomes 6.47% rather than 3.7% (benefits 64% payable), and the 2080 deficit becomes 12.39% rather than 4.87% (benefits 50% payable).

Also consider that, at the moment, there are 2.7 workers for each Social Security recipient (2.8 in 2020). This is forecast to drop to 2.2 in 2040 and ultimately down to 2.1. But if the population trends are those of the pessimistic scenario, then that 2.1 would drop to 1.5 by the year 2080.

Author(s): Elizabeth Bauer

Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Publication Site: Forbes

The Decline in U.S. Fertility

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In the United States and other developed countries, fertility tends to drop during periods of economic decline. U.S. fertility rates fell to low levels during the Great Depression (1930s), around the time of the 1970s “oil shock,” and since the onset of the recent recession in 2007 (see Figure 1). The U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) stood at 2.0 births per woman in 2009, but preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that the TFR dropped to 1.9 in 2010—well below the replacement level of 2.1.1 A similar decline—or leveling off—of fertility rates has been reported in Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and several other European countries.

Author(s): Mark Mather

Publication Date: 18 July 2012

Publication Site: PRB

Will births in the US rebound? Probably not.

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Figure 2 translates these childbearing age profiles into total number of children ever born by a certain age. The figure clearly shows that successively younger cohorts of women are having fewer children by specific ages. For instance, by age 24, the 1995 birth cohort of women had 38 percent fewer children than the 1975 and 1980 birth cohorts had at that age (0.5 compared to 0.8). This younger cohort would need to have 21 percent more children at each age from 25 through 44 to “catch up” to the earlier cohorts in terms of total lifetime childbearing. As another example, the 1990 birth cohort has had 21 percent fewer births through age 29 compared to the 1975 and 1980 cohorts; they would need to have 38 percent more births in their remaining childbearing years to catch up in terms of lifetime fertility.

Author(s): Melissa S. Kearney, Phillip Levine

Publication Date: 24 May 2021

Publication Site: Brookings

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper: Demographic Decline Undermines Public Finance

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/not-with-a-bang-but-a-whimper-demographic

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The last time the Census Bureau did a population projection, the estimated population for even 2020 came in a little high. From March 2018: Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060 — they estimated a total population of about 332.6 million, and the apportionment Census results were 331.1 million. To be sure, this is a less than 0.5% difference, so no big deal.

This is the growth rate they projected, even in 2018:
2020-2030: 7%
2030-2040: 5%
2040-2050: 4%
2050-2060: 4%

Those are full-decade growth rates. That’s before the pandemic has shaved our numbers down a little.

Would you like to know the growth rates from prior decades?
2010-2020: 7%
2000-2010: 10%
1990-2000: 13%
1980-1990: 10%

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 28 May 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Baby boom to baby bust (CSM 1985)

Link: https://www.csmonitor.com/1985/1127/z1love3.html

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In the ’70s, these overpopulation alarms had widespread impact. A 1970 survey found that 69 percent of married women in America agreed that US overpopulation was a “serious problem” — and that many of them were lowering the number of children they intended to have.

Now, however, the birthrate in the industrial world is below the “replacement rate” of 2.1 children per woman. That rate is set at the number of children needed to replace every parent, with more added to account for mortality.

In 1855, white American women averaged 5.31 births — well above the then-current replacement rate of 3.32 (higher then because of higher infant mortality). By 1980, the figure had dropped to 1.75 children each — well below the 2.1 replacement rate. Even the high birthrate of US Hispanics — 56 percent more than non-Hispanics in 1982 — doesn’t raise the total US rate above replacement levels.

Author(s): Rushworth M. Kidder

Publication Date: 27 November 1985

Publication Site: Christian Science Monitor

Is China’s population shrinking?

Link: https://www.economist.com/china/2021/04/29/is-chinas-population-shrinking

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The Communist Party has long known that, partly as the result of its brutal birth-control policies, China’s population would soon peak and start to shrink. It has been startled, however, by how rapidly that moment has drawn near. Now, it looks as if it might have arrived.

….

There are also indications that China’s total fertility rate (the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime) has dropped faster than previously thought. Chinese planners have assumed a rate of 1.8, but some Chinese scholars (and the World Bank) say it between 1.6 and 1.7. A working paper released in March by China’s central bank suggests the rate is no more than 1.5.

Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Publication Site: The Economist