Tuesday, March 24, 2009

US birthrate in 2007 surpasses historic "Baby Boom" rate.

Mike Stobbe has an AP story, “What a Concept: 2007 Births Surpass Baby Boom”, on p F4 (“Health”) of the March 24, 2009 Washington Post. Curiously, I could not find the story online (or at the AP site), but I found a similar story by Stobbe from AP, dated March 18, “U.S. Births in 2007 break baby-boom-era record” here.

The United States has a fertility rate of 2.1, which means that it just about replaces its population, with Hispanics having a higher rate. A lot has been written recently about lower fertility rates in some western European countries, Russia and Japan, threatening the so called “demographic winter”. Does "baby boom" (or "baby boomlet") mean "baby boon"?

An important point is that birth rates are higher when economic times are good or thought to be good (more the case in 2007). The rate will probably drop in 2008. Domestic birth rates dropped during the Great Depression.

In general, a more robust birth rate may help reduce the crisis in providing for the aged in the future, but so could keeping people able to work (and employers willing to employ them) longer.

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