Saturday, July 11, 2020

U.S. birth rates continue to fall while life expectancy rises for World Population Day 2020

Not only is today National Mojito Day, but it's also World Population Day. Since I've already written a post for National Mojito Day, it's time to observe World Population Day.

For this year's celebration, I'm going to take a different take from years past, when I examined the holiday directly. Instead, I'm using it as an opportunity to update my readers on two factors that affect a country's population, birth rates and death rates, which I examine indirectly through life expectancy. Birth rates have been declining since 2008 and life expectancy has been falling since 2014, which means more people are dying younger. It's time to see if either of those have changed.

For U.S. birth rates, the answer is no, as the Today Show reported US Birthrate Drops To Lowest Rate In 35 Years in May.

The latest numbers from the CDC show that U.S. births continued to fall last year, leading to the fewest number of newborns in 35 years: There were just 3.7 million births in 2019.
Atlanta's 11Alive explained the continued trend last year when it answered Why is the U.S. birthrate declining?

The birthrate hit a 32-year low in 2018

The COVID-19 pandemic could either amplify the trend or slow it, as Newsy reported COVID-19 Could Trigger Further Drop In Already Falling U.S. Birth Rate last week.

A new survey shows 43% of Millennials and Gen Zers are less likely to have kids because of the pandemic.
I can believe these survey results. As a video I included in Next Media Animation thinks low birth rates in the U.S. and China aren't all good said "economy is the best form of birth control." Given that the U.S. is officially in recession, the weak and uncertain economy will likely outweigh the ability to be at home.

On the other hand, CBS News reported U.S. life expectancy increases for 1st time since 2014 at the end of January 2020.

Life expectancy for Americans increased a bit in the latest CDC data, reversing a downward trend. The first gain in four years is due in part to a decline in cancer deaths.
That's good news, but I have my doubts that the improvement will survive the pandemic. My readers and I will have to wait until next year to find out.

In the meantime, I'm going to conclude this entry by recycling what I last quoted in Destination Maternity/Motherhood Maternity files for bankruptcy and announces store closings, blaming lower birth rates, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.
On the one hand, the U.S. is doing its part to slow down population growth. On the other hand, [this means] a possible shrinking economy in the future, which is bad for business as usual. It's time to be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote last year.
I have been in favor of zero population growth for as long as I can remember. However, I'm not sure the U.S. economy is set up for a stable or slowly declining population, a point I made in the Hipcrime Vocab: Why Slowing Population Growth is a Problem. We are going to have to figure how to do so. Otherwise, I might live long enough to experience the wisdom of the saying "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."
Here's to hoping the U.S. learns how to thread that needle.

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