America’s demographic squeeze: Double bind

Posted: December 12, 2012 in economy
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ALTHOUGH America’s fiscal problems are among the worst in the rich world, its policymakers long took comfort that, when it came to demography, its outlook was one of the best. Because Americans have more babies and welcome more immigrants, they had more room to deal with the coming burden of pensions and health care for the elderly.But the savage recession of 2007-09 and its aftermath have not just deepened America’s fiscal hole; they may have diminished those demographic advantages. America’s fertility rate has been falling since 2007 (see chart), as has net immigration. Compounding this, the share of the population that is active in the labour force has slipped, both because of ageing and because of the recession’s lingering effects.This means that although America’s population is still projected to be among the rich world’s fastest-growing, it is less so. On December 12th the Census Bureau said that America’s population would rise to 400m by the year 2050. The last projection, released in 2008, was 439m.The findings should not come as a surprise. A growing body of evidence has pointed in the same direction. The number of babies born per 1,000 women of childbearing age (also called the “general” fertility rate) fell to 63 in the first half of this year, the lowest since at least 1920, and well below the recent high of over 69 recorded in 2007. That is …

via Economic Crisis


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