Americans are having fewer and fewer babies as a lingering effect of the Great Recession.
Population growth has slowed to a crawl since 2008, according to The National Center for Health Statistics. Births fell to a 12-year low last year.
The last time people walked away from having babies in these numbers was during the Great Depression and then again during World War II.
What we’re seeing right now with the lower birth rate impacts the retail of baby goods and how people change their consumption patterns in the wake of parenthood.
But this is not a permanent situation. As a Bloomberg news report points out, there is a generation coming up that’s entering their key baby years so we’ll probably have a little population boom later this decade even if the economy is still messed up.
Yet if I’m wrong and births stay down, that reshapes the math of how we pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In short, it means fewer workers supporting the great grey masses. Historically, immigration has provided workers to support our entitlement programs, but we don’t have a lot of immigration right now.
So we’ll have to figure out how to modify or morph to pay the bills down the road.