Saturday, August 28, 2010

Birthrate Collapse

One statistic I have been waiting to see was what the recession did to the birthrate. Some of the lowest birthrates we had in the United States were in the Great Depression. Surprisingly this happened before the invention of the birth control pill and abortions were not nearly as common.

So I have been expecting a huge drop.

Sure enough, birthrates have dropped to the lowest levels in the past century. There were about 200, 000 less babies in 2009 than in 2007.

Quite interestingly, from the perspective of the person being born, it really would be better to be born now than in 2007. The number of positions in colleges for people born in 2009 will be the same as for those born in 2009. The same is true of entry level employment opportunities. However there are 200, 000 less people competing for these same spots. Sure the recession means your parents will be poor while you are a baby, but on the twenty year scale it is unlikely things will be bad.

Another thing to note, is that lifetime fertility rates just dropped below 2.1. Meaning that the population is theoretically in decline unless high birth rates in the future make up for it. However when you look at the actual report, you see that the total number of deaths a year is about 2.5 million. While the total number of births is 4 million. So population is increasing by 1.5 million a year. This is because our population is still skewed towards younger people.

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