Stagnant wages + soaring cost of living + massive cuts to services = collapsing US birth-rate

The US birth-rate continued to plummet last year, with births falling in nearly all groups, and a one-year dropoff in overall fertility not seen since 2010; the US fertility rate is at its lowest level in recorded history.

The falling birth-rate even hit women in their 30s, one of the most reliably fertile group of women; the last year in which the the number of births was this low was 1987.

The birth-rate news comes in the midst of stagnating wages, an overall decrease in stable work, with a rise in contract work that doesn't entitle women to even the stingy American version of maternity leave, GOP-driven rises in ACA insurance rates, skyrocketing housing costs, a student debt crisis and deep cuts to public education that has created a two-tier public system in which high-quality public education is largely the exclusive purview of people who can afford to spend millions on their homes.

It's the 46th straight year in which US fertility was below the replacement rate. No age group or cohort is reproducing fast enough to replace itself, and the only age group with any growth in 2017 was women 40 to 44, whose overall fertility was very low to begin with.

The US economy requires young working-aged people to fill vacancies left by retirees and replace their contributions to the tax-rolls. Without these workers, social security and other programs will suffer severe shortfalls. Cuts to these systems can trigger a vicious cycle in which working aged people can't afford to have children because they're looking after their parents, creating an even demographic crisis when those workers age out and no workers are coming in behind them to fill in.

In theory, these workers can be replaced through migration, but the birthrate is falling while net migration is largely flat.

An extreme version of this can be seen in China, where a multigenerational "one child" policy has triggered a demographic crisis that sees two working-aged people supporting up to four parents and up to eight grandparents, and trying to figure out if they can afford to have a baby.

60.2: That’s how many babies were born in 2017 for every 1,000 women of childbearing age. This figure is known as the general fertility rate, and this is the lowest it has been since officials began keeping track, according to the report. (The CDC considers women between the ages of 15 and 44 to be of childbearing age.)

3%: That’s the percentage the general fertility rate declined from 2016 to 2017. It was the biggest one-year drop since 2010.

The U.S. birthrate hits another record low. Even women in their 30s are having fewer babies [Karen Kaplan/LA Times]

(via Naked Capitalism)