The US fertility rate is nearly half of what is was at the peak of the baby boom in the 1950s

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    This one may be suitable for Economics too, but I've posted it here.
    Federal data shows that the first quarter of 2016 brought 59.8 babies for every 1,000 women, ages 15 to 44, the lowest point on record.
    The data shows that US women who choose to reproduce keep delaying motherhood. In the 1960s, the average age a woman had her first child was 21, in 2000 it was 24.9, and today it is 26.3.
    Reasons for this include the availability of birth control in the 1960s, more women finishing school and launching their careers before starting a family, and some women deciding not to have a family at all.
    However, a huge driver of America’s increasingly late parenthood is that many women cannot afford to have a baby. Student debt and bleak job prospects make working towards stability an uphill battle. According to a Pew Research Center Survey in 2014, 40% of American women aged 40 to 55 say they have fewer children than they would like.
    Furthermore, having a child is becoming increasingly more expensive. Childcare costs now consume at least 30% of a minimum-wage worker’s salary and the US does not guarantee paid parental leave for workers.
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  3. timojin Valued Senior Member

    It is interesting many west European country are running into the same loss in fertility, In Danemarck the government is encouraging young people to produce baby " It is good fo Danemarck
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  5. Dreamspitter Registered Member

    Child care now costs more than in-state college tuition

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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The "Baby Boom" began in 1945 and its conclusion is generally identified as 1961. The reason for the phenomenon is that during the Great Depression, which began in 1929 when the U.S. stock market collapsed, Americans were much poorer than they had been for many decades. The Depression finally ended when the U.S. entered World War II, and millions of jobs suddenly became available to men who were not young enough or healthy enough to go off to war--and to women, who hitherto generally had not been seeking relatively high-paying industrial jobs, which were now available because so many men had gone off to war.

    This is not an environment that encourages people to have children!

    However, the USA mainland suffered virtually no damage in the war (although Hawaii and other island holdings did) so when it was over the country had--almost magically--recovered from the Depression. With the European nations' industrial infrastructure blasted by war, the USA was suddenly the most prosperous nation on Earth. (And it still is, but tenuously.)

    When the soldiers and sailors came home from the war (and of course I do not mean to malign the thousands who never came home), they found an America rather unlike the one they had left. There were jobs aplenty, for men as well as for women. Salaries were astounding, compared to their level during the Depression, and job security was almost guaranteed.

    With this kind of economy, couples who could barely afford to care for one child in 1940 suddenly had the money (and the houses, which were being built like beehives) to make up for the pre-war austerity. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that when a soldier or sailor landed on U.S. soil, his wife was waiting at the dock and immediately dragged him into their bedroom. This resulted in the phenomenon known as the "Baby Boom."

    Of course this was a bit of an aberration. When this generation of parents had the children they had put off for so long, the next generation--the "Baby Boomers" born between 1946 and 1962--returned to normal family lives and the birth rate returned more-or-less to replacement level.

    Our population has, of course, continued to increase, and certainly much of this is due to Baby Boomers, who continued to get good jobs. But a lot of it is also due to immigration. Most foreign immigrants are accustomed to larger families than the average American couple, and indeed the percentage of Americans of traditional European ancestry is slowly dwindling. (And I don't mean to ignore the millions of Afro-American families, who also tend to have more children than us Euro-Americans.) The day will soon come when there is no dominant ethnic group in the USA.

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