July 06, 2017

These children are our future. These children specifically. Credit: Andrew Malone / Flickr

Americans aren’t having a lot of kids. Our fertility rate is now approximately 1.8 births per woman, less than half what it was in the ‘50s. And that has some demographers and economists worried. Fewer children mean fewer workers. Fewer workers mean less tax revenue, and less support for an aging population. Dowell Myers, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California and  Fariborz Ghadar, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, walk us through how this demographic shift will change American society, and what we can do about it.

Three Takeaways:

  • Dowell Myers says that the real problem is baby boomers. Namely, there’s a ton of them. He notes that, once, there were 58 million baby boomers employed. A third of them have aged out of the labor force already, and there’s simply not enough workers to replace them.
  • We could replace retiring boomers through immigration. But according to Fariborz Ghadar, America is becoming both less open to immigrants and less attractive to them.
  • If birth rates aren’t going up, Dowell Myers thinks it’s time to focus on the children that are born. “Start to treat our children as a precious asset, as a scarce and diminishing resource… we are investing less and less in them, when we should invest more and more.”

More Reading:

innovation hub, pri, Fariborz Ghadar, Dowell Myers, Birth rate, Baby Boomers, WGBH, Kara Miller

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