U.S. birth rate hits new low. This could be bad news for everyone

The number of older Americans is surpassing the number of very young Americans. Most experts don't think that's good news.

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  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 16, 2019 1:13 p.m.


    What I was saying is that while immigration works as a temporary fix for lack of babies born, it changes the culture of a country too much when too many immigrants come into our nation & insufficient time is not allowed for them to assimilate.

    Victor Davis Hanson has pointed out how too many immigrants at a time makes the nation more of a "salad" (different cultures don't mix as much & hence not as well). E pluribus Unum means "from many one". It implies how immigrants over time become one with the rest of the nation. When immigration was gradual enough for a melding & welding between their old culture & the extant culture in the nation they enter, then gradually there is ever more intermarriage & a move to greater unity, oneness.

    Diversity can help. But, too much too fast can hurt, both the people already in the nation & those coming in.

    My whole point is that immigration is not a long term solution for sub-replacement birth rates (that we've had for 50 years—a whole lifetime)! Without enough babies, the nation ages, dwindles & dies culturally, economically, in all ways.

    We greatly need a massive increase in births! They give us a raison d'etre that we've largely lost!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 15, 2019 4:44 p.m.

    We're not going to enact programmes that give confidence to young people that they will have help raising children. We're just not going to do that. Nobody gets health care, or even protection from predatory lending. They're on their own. Anything better is labeled 'socialism'.
    So, they've decided not to have kids. And they know they are not obligated to. That's important. But, where can we find a pool of people willing to work and take on new roles in American society going forward? Why has god not sent a motivated group of individuals to knock at the door of opportunity hoping to contribute to our society? If the future consumers in America aren't internal they've got to be...
    wait, that can't be right.

  • Peacevibes55 , 00
    May 15, 2019 4:37 p.m.

    I actually won’t want to bring a child in today’s world , it’s dangerous overpopulation starvation distinction of species list goes on I would never wish this on the upcoming new generation .

  • Red Corvette St George, UT
    May 15, 2019 3:46 p.m.

    Its certainly bad news for the Church as it continues to shrink.

  • JaneB Wilsonville, OR
    May 15, 2019 3:39 p.m.

    Diligent Dave wrote: Immigration does indeed bring more 'bodies' to work. But the difference in cultural values, etc, changes society far greater than most suppose, and not necessarily for the better."

    I think you're wrong and I'll tell you why. We are actually better because of our immigrants. Much better. Are you aware that first generation immigrants start many more businesses (that employ us and grow our economy) than natives? Did you know that over 50% of billion $ companies were started by immigrants? That's astonishing, and really does prove a tremendous cultural and economic benefit. I don't know what it is, but is seems to indicate that they have more of "the right stuff" to succeed than the rest of us! (generally.)

    So yeah, I like the changes immigrants bring. I know many immigrants. They are very very fine people. We need to legalize the dreamers, and also allow more people come and work here. We have plenty of jobs.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    May 15, 2019 3:07 p.m.

    To "andyjaggy" you don't have to pay for your kids to go to college. Believe it or not, they can pay their own way.

    Why do your kids have to do the same thing that everybody else does? Do you ensure that your kids get the best education you can help them get? Do you anticipate never getting promoted? Did you know that the average worker changes jobs every 5 years, and when changing jobs will get a 10% or more increase in their salary?

    Yes, raising kids is expensive, but are you doing something to increase your income to provide more money for your family or do you stay at your job that gives you minimal raises each year?

    So what is your solution to "crony capitalism?"

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    May 15, 2019 2:43 p.m.

    I make decent money. My salary is 75k a year. We live pretty frugally, moderate house, 10 year old vehicles, no smart phones, no cable television. We can barely afford our 4 kids let alone save for their college or provide for them all the opportunities we see people with less kids being able to provide. At the end of the year I will once again get my 2% raise while my health insurance premiums will probably go up around 10-15%, completely negating any raise I might get. Meanwhile Trump's tax reform got me a whopping 10 extra dollars per pay check and his tariffs have all but guaranteed I will be paying more for most of my purchases throughout the year. If you want to see people having more kids than fix the crony capitalism and stop giving tax breaks and handouts to corporations.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 15, 2019 2:10 p.m.

    Civilly, because economic depressions, like the one in the 1930's, tend to bring on civil unrest and war (like WWII, the deadliest war in the world ever)!

    When birthrates are at sub-replacement levels (which they still are & have been since 1970), it screws up everything. Financial debt (personally & for governments) has been the result. It has been since about 1970 that the US, as a nation, and for individuals & families, has been sinking, year-by-year, into deeper & deeper financial debt.

    Without more babies (people) being born, demand dwindles.

    Growing population is what has contributed so much to economic prosperity around the world for the past several hundred years! Increasingly larger markets make prospects for businesses grow. Declining #'s of prospective customers ruins business, leads to more companies going under, fewer needs for employees, & thereby jobs shrink in #.

    Women choosing to 'make bank' instead of babies, while it might work for a decade or two, in the long run, it destroys the economy. The Ponzi scheme called socialism (like Social Security, MediCare, MedicAid, etc) will sooner or later fail, like Bernie Madoff's scam did 10 yrs ago, which ran for 50 yrs!

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 15, 2019 2:00 p.m.

    The so-called Feminist movement has contributed greatly to the decline of births. And, sorry, but immigration is not the solution.

    Immigration does indeed bring more 'bodies' to work. But the difference in cultural values, etc, changes society far greater than most suppose, and not necessarily for the better. (Don't get me wrong, I advocate massive in-migration, as a short term fix. But it won't work in the long run at all.

    The 'Feminist' movement advocated women doing what men do— make money (outside the home), and not be 'forced' into having babies.

    I agree that everyone, women as much as men, have their 'agency' - the God given right to make choices for themselves. But, of course, the "other end of this stick" (when you pick up one end of a stick, you also pick up the other end) is this— only women can have babies. And, if a sufficient number of them refuse to have many (if any) babies, it is leading to an existential threat for all of humanity.

    Even having over 7 billion humans on earth doesn't change that. First, economically, and then civilly, sub-replacement birth rates result in economic depression. The US hasn't had a real surplus birth rate since 1970 (49 years ago)!

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 1:39 p.m.

    @ Sumbuddy: "if I were to do it over I would not have any kids."

    Gee, I sure hope your kids don't read your commentary. What a bleak outlook on life.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    May 15, 2019 1:09 p.m.

    We would of loved to have two more kids. However our son is a special needs child and that cost about $3500 a month plus he needs so much attention that if we had more kids it wouldn’t be fair to them?

  • deseret pete Springville, UT
    May 15, 2019 12:52 p.m.

    City Boy -- if you re-read my post i didn't say that God or prayers would solve our problem . I said he would Help us solve them.-- Killing our own offspring won't help . You missed the whole point

  • Elsleuth Valencia, Ca
    May 15, 2019 12:27 p.m.

    With a lower birth rate and a large population of older citizens who live longer and stay at work longer the net result is that young people tend not to move up the corporate ladder because it is already crowded with senior citizens.

    Some experts see young graduates drifting from one internship to the next, never finding permanent employment. The long-term effects of this might lead to a generation whose retirement could be spent in poverty.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    May 15, 2019 12:24 p.m.

    @deseret pete
    Humanity crossed 7 billion a while back. We're not in any danger of extinction.

    What's in danger is specific economic measures of succcess and some people's ideas of what "America" should look like.

    But extinction? Nah. We'd have to kill *way* more babies to work on *that*.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    May 15, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    trump just said the nation if full and now we're hearing the there aren't enough babies being born to sustain the population.
    So what is it?
    Of course the solution is to let more people move to the US and let them work which would boost the economy, etc.
    So why are we fighting letting good people move to the US?

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    May 15, 2019 12:22 p.m.

    @ deseret pete,

    “People seem to have no Faith or belief in our Creator and and think he can not help us to solve the problems we encounter...”

    I believe in our Creator but I also believe in supernal His plan for us to use our own agency. We can pray for peace in the world every morning and night, but unless mankind actually takes steps to bring it about God will not save us from ourselves. Prayer and supplication to God are wonderful tools, but without works they avail little.

  • Argus_Skyhawk , 00
    May 15, 2019 11:59 a.m.

    Having grown up hearing the warnings about world overpopulation, I have trouble seeing population decline as a bad thing. The potential economic difficulties described in this article seem small compared to the loss of natural environments and species and the prospect of widespread starvation as natural resources run out. This article was clearly not intended to make me feel hopeful, but it does.

  • deseret pete Springville, UT
    May 15, 2019 11:55 a.m.

    In considering the decline of births --- Did they consider the 600,000 abortions a year, -- Maybe a better solution would be to stop killing our offspring like some uncivilized society. Some of the posts here and solutions are pretty scary. -- People seem to have no Faith or belief in our Creator and and think he can not help us to solve the problems we encounter except by resorting to breaking his commandments and think only of our individual survival. -- It is a sad tale -- But this situation has been prophesied from the beginning -- Just think of the the Headline ' US birth rate hits new low -- This could be bad news for everyone --- Then i read all the posts for solutions . When we have an animal that is close to extinction we put them on the endangered species list and it is against the law to kill them or their eggs to be hatched or face a fine and jail time --- But for the human species which they are concerned about too small of a birth rate it is okay to kill 600,000 a year in the US. --- This ought not to be. The biggest problem we have is a Moral Decay of our society where the animal species is more protected than our own offspring.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    May 15, 2019 11:42 a.m.

    Hey, anytime someone wants to wire me $100k to jump-start me and my husband's plan for children, I'm ready.

    Joking (not-joking) aside, as much as folks claim to be worried about declining births and population, no one is seriously trying to actually encourage folks to have kids. Our economic culture pushes people to go to college if they want a middle-class job, which pushes thousands of dollars of debt onto them before they're even married, which then delays marriage, buying a house, and so-on. By the time folks are financially stable and ready, they're in their 30s.

    The only folks having kids while young are the folks who aren't planning ahead and ready to handle them.

    If we aren't willing to tackle all those economic and financial obstacles to folks settling down and having kids in their 20s (as opposed to their 30s) you'll never see the birth rate climbing again.

    Seriously though, if anyone wants to wire me $100k, we'll start looking for a surrogacy agency.

  • J. Smith Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 11:40 a.m.

    And this my friends is why migration/immigration is a good thing......

  • bemorefair , 00
    May 15, 2019 11:21 a.m.

    If we are going to keep growing in numbers, we better start figuring out how to not destroy the Earth for our posterity.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 9:41 a.m.

    "Were it not for the fact that these stats have been available and known for a long time as we fritter away that time on matters of far less import, I'd have some hope we would turn the ship of state enough to avoid the looming iceberg we're fast approaching."

    It's like climate change, a slow steady shift without a sharp edge to it that comes across as distant doesn't get addressed.

  • T-money$$$ Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 8:49 a.m.

    It's a simple fix - immigration.

    Those coming into the country will offset the number of new children born. This one of the reasons why projections show the US will stop being a majority-white country in the next twenty years.

  • SumBuddy Ogden, UT
    May 15, 2019 8:39 a.m.

    I'm not worried if the birth rate keeps going down. Kids are tough and if I were to do it over I would not have any kids. My advice to newlyweds is only have 1 or 2 kids. I grew up with 5 siblings but each of us have only had 1 or 2 kids. It is fine. The cost of living is going up and my 1 to 2 percent salary increase for the cost of living is not enough. It could get worse with the trade wars too. I really think people are scared to bring kids into the world we live in now.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 8:36 a.m.

    Have you ever met an older person who went back to their hometown and said "look at all these houses covering the fields we use to run in as children. I am so happy we continued to grow exponentially"?

    Have you ever gone camping and been stoked to not be able to find a campsite because of how popular your favorite place is?

    Have you ever tried to go skiing and been happy that there is no parking left at 10:30?

    But at least a very few people were able to make lots of money, more money then they could ever spend in 100 lifetimes, and horde that money for their own aggrandizement.

    We need to STOP growth and figure out a way to have an economy that can survive in stasis with population.

    Perhaps instead of shortchanging medicare we could quit spending as much as the rest of the world COMBINED on our 'defense'...on the other side of the world.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 8:29 a.m.

    "The U.S. birth rate is now below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman, and experts say that could kick off events that will negatively impact all U.S. generations, from stalling economic growth to shortchanging funding for Social Security and other safety net programs that benefit the elderly."

    The shortsightedness of this 'we always have to be growing' mentality is disgusting. If you make this argument please travel. Go to Dhaka Bangladesh, go to Mumbai India, go to Rio and then explain how we need to keep growing indefinitely.
    What needs to happen is for economists and business people to figure out how to have an economy where endless population growth isnt a necessary component.

    The bottom line isnt the bank account, its the quality of your life.

    "The number of births to women 20-24 has fallen an average of 4 percent a year since 2007, and the birth rate for teens dropped between 8 and 9 percent from 2017 to 2018. Since 2007, births to females 15-19 has plummeted 60 percent."

    We have been fighting for years to stop teen births and then this article makes it out to be a BAD thing.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. -Edward Abbey

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    May 15, 2019 8:23 a.m.

    To "Fullypresent" to some degree. There is also the problem of people at the beginning of their careers wanting to live like their parents did in the middle of their career.

    Just look at the average house size, the number of cars per family, and other luxury items that families buy.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 7:45 a.m.

    This is good news!

    At some some point world population will have to stop growing, and we may as well deal with it now, rather than later.

    As human population grows we are rapidly wiping out other species, for the sake of the rest of God's creatures humans need to quit reproducing.

    The world can support more humans but only at the expense of the natural world!

  • SpÄter73 Hughson, CA
    May 15, 2019 7:34 a.m.

    This is why congress has not done anything to curb immigration. They have known for years that the financial numbers don’t pencil long term without immigration due to the declination of the birth rate among Americans. It’s also probably the reason some don’t want immigrants to assimilate into the American culture. Once they eventually assimilate the birth rates drop perpetuating the need for more immigration.

    There’s a very interesting two part series on BYUTV titled The Demographic Winter (I think) which gets into the how and why of birth rate decline and what it means to economies long term.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2019 7:29 a.m.

    When you combine these demographic statistics, particularly as they relate to the so-called Social Security "safety net", with the ones mentioned in the other current D-News article showing the abysmal savings and savings rates of people across the generational spectrum, we are looking at some very disturbing forecasts for the economy and general societal well being.

    Were it not for the fact that these stats have been available and known for a long time as we fritter away that time on matters of far less import, I'd have some hope we would turn the ship of state enough to avoid the looming iceberg we're fast approaching.

    But, ominously, I think that's about as likely as the chances of us actually staying below the fanciful debt "ceiling" (what a ridiculous name for something that has NEVER acted as a ceiling to our debt) when it comes time for Congress to ignore it, again.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    May 15, 2019 7:26 a.m.

    Another "crisis" on the horizon. There's one everyday in every newspaper, so many I've lost track.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    May 15, 2019 7:25 a.m.

    When I started my family, Church leaders were counseling us to not delay marriage, not restrict the size of or families, not delay families for education or jobs.

    As my wife and I "followed the Brethren", I noticed that many of the children of the Brethren and other well known LDS families went against this counsel. They delayed marriage and family until their educations were complete and their careers were established.

    There are economic and financial realities that outweigh the idealistic counsel of Church leaders!

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    May 15, 2019 6:59 a.m.

    “Why More Babies Could Help Strengthen the Social Safety Net For Older Americans”.

    Poor Lois. She writes a very fine article about declining birthrates and changing demographics and then some editor applies a title that appropriates the sentiment of her article.

    Only in Utah, the capital of Ponzi schemes, could someone suggest that having more babies will help solve the problem of too many elderly SS recipients and too few workers to support them. Yeah, it seems like a good idea in 2045 when today’s scores of new babies are gainfully employed in the workforce. But in 2085 when today’s same babies are retiring, who’s going to support them?

    I suggest that editors of the D-News take a refresher course in math, particularly the calculus of logarithmic functions and exponential growth.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    May 15, 2019 12:41 a.m.

    We are at the same rate as 1978. We bounced back from it, we will bounce back from this. When you add in a million legal immigrants a year, we will not be running out of people, and our population will continue to increase.

    Many of the young people I know see our population booming because of legal and illegal immigration, asylum, work visas, etc, and see their children growing up in a much different world and work enviroment.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    May 14, 2019 10:47 p.m.

    Cost of living needs to come down and cost of a family.