From the archives: The latest on the birth dearth in America – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise14th May 2019
In December, AEI released a report by one of the Institute’s newest adjunct fellows, economist Lyman Stone. Titled “Declining Fertility in America,” Stone argues that birth rates in the US are declining, “soon to become the lowest ever.” Millennial women, he tells us, will soon have fewer children than previous generations had. “Policymakers must confront the reality that all our long-term obligations will have to be financed with substantially fewer people (or perhaps substantially more immigration) than most actuarial projections assume.”
Stone addresses the changing culture surrounding marriage noting that “Most changes in marital status … can be attributed to the increasing delay in young people getting married. In other words, declining fertility is really about delayed marriage.” While Stone finds most Americans still hold childbearing in high regard, the trouble boils down to barriers to childbearing including young adult debt, rising housing costs, higher cost of market-based childcare, among many other factors.
Declining fertility and its policy implications have been on the mind of AEI scholars for decades, especially Nicholas Eberstadt and the late Ben Wattenberg. A recently published collection of essays by Eberstadt Population, Poverty, Policy includes several of Eberstadt’s essays on our demographic future.
In 1989, The Birth Dearth, by the late Ben Wattenberg, raised the alarm about the specter of depopulation as did his 2004 book Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape our Future.
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