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Decline in Birth Rate



April 11, 2009 – Comments (12)

Somewhere I have predicted that the US will have a decline in birth rate and today I saw an article that I think shows how that plays out, the increased demand for vasectomies.

Basically starting somewhere around my generation the Canadian economy change so there is enormous inequity in wealth distribution with an increasing population struggling starting from about my age group and getting massive as you go down in age.  It affected the Canadian birth rate.  I am one that delayed having children because of finances until it was too late to have children.  The birth rate will decline.

That will be interesting in how it plays out with the agining population.  I did a comparison post on the US versus Canada on my Making Sense of My World Blog about a year ago, and of course I mention that people are not getting the pensions they think they are getting.

12 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 11, 2009 at 10:11 AM, jaketen2001 (55.65) wrote:

All first world countries have had a negative population growth rate for years, decades even.  Most countries have had a net negative population growth.  The only reason the US has had any population growth in the last 20 years is because of immigration.

Which begs the question, will current occupants quietly bow out while (new) immigrants  move in.  These meat grinder economies, that require a zillion slave waged workers in them, are part of the problem.  Economies around the world that have wage parity have no population growth.  Seeing as how there are 6 billion (?) people on the planet, that is a good thing.

That is another big question facing the US and world economies.  They have existed for the last 100 years assuming population growth built in to business models.  It is the equivalent of scraping new land and building a new house (cheaply), than fixing an old house in town, or renovating an old building.  Looking forward, business models will have to be able to make money on a zero sum population growth world, no 'new' markets, just fighting tooth and nail to win over someone elses bunsiness.


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#2) On April 11, 2009 at 10:54 AM, TMFDeej (97.62) wrote:

The demographic trends are working against the U.S. economy now as the Baby Boomers pass their peak spending years, but things will get much better demographically before any slowdown in the birth rate today has a negative impact upon the economy.  It's barely worth talking about at this point. 

There was a record-setting number of borths in the United States in 2008.  The things that you are talking about won't affect anything for decades.  In fact, until they reach the age that they can work people are actually a drag on the economy, they consume a ton without any production. 

The high birthrate over the past several years, combined with a slowdown there after will actually serve as an economic tailwind before it serves as a headwind.

This is the very least of investors problems.

On a personal note, there's no way in he-two-sticks that I would ever have a vasectomy.  I'll gladly invest in some form of birth control before I let a doctor take a laser or whatever they use near my stuff :).  No thanks.  Besides, I don't like things that are nearly permanent.  That's why I don't have any tatoos.


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#3) On April 11, 2009 at 12:24 PM, apoorinvestor (< 20) wrote:

as we continue to import a third world population, we're going to have third world results.


the white world is screwed.

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#4) On April 11, 2009 at 3:01 PM, angusthermopylae (38.36) wrote:


It's not a matter of "white world" or any other world--the United States has always had an influx of immigrant population and labor.

For example, I live in Appalachia (Southern Ohio, to be precise.)  In the 1740s-1800s, the area was settled primarily by German, Irish, and Scots-Irish immigrants who left their homes for various reasons:  Some left because they were on the bottom of the social and political spectrum (Scots-Irish, in particular.)  Some to escape economic hardship (Irish and the potato-famine).  Others because of better opportunity than they had available at home (Germans and others, for example.)

There's a whole tangled history of who, when, why, and how it all worked out, but basically every group went through the "those damn immigrants" phase, and each has settled in to the point where they consider themselves just as "American" as anyone else.

...just try walking up a holler in Kentucky or West Virginia, finding a Litteral, McCoy, or some such and telling them they are a "damn immigrant who should just go home."  Even money on how much skin you'll leave behind trying to get back out.

I believe dwot's point is not about the social ramifications, but the economic ones:  Pensions and retirement depend upon either an endless growth (more current worker income than retirees) or an extremely delicate balance where enough people quit, die, or otherwise become ineligible for retirement that the workers can support them.

With rising (at least now) expected life spans, diminishing birth rates, and higher retirement and health care costs (which older people require more of), there is a clear and foreseeable dead end to the whole system.

If I read dwot's inferences correctly, there are only a few escapes to the current situation, most of them Malthusian in form:

--Diminish the number of retirees.  You can do this by make them ineligible (bankruptcies, changing the rules, cutting health care (which saves money and kills of older pensioners).  This is a cold, hard calcuation that most Western societies won't go for, at least not openly.

--Increase the number of workers.  If you're close to retirement, you should lobby for every immigrant and green card worker you can get--they are supporting your retirement, and keeping you in the retiree lifestyle that you were promised.  Funny, though, that it seems the anti-immigration push is strongly supported by older white politicians, huh?

--Change the rules altogether.  Ha!  That one will go over well.  Not only will the current labor force fight it tooth and nail, but it would be an admission that we are in more dire straits than any company, politician, or patriotic Westerner would be willing to admit.

--Bring back the plague.  There's a good one for you--simple, direct, and absolutely horrible...but it would work.

I believe that the subtext of the next few years will a combination of the first three approaches.  No one will say, "We're're one your own."  But they (governments, retirement funds, etc.) will juggle the rules and change the system over's primarily a question of how fast and how effective those changes will be.

I would look for multiple bankruptcies of pensions, "new" forms of "retirement," and a softening of the anit-immigration movement amongst the political leaders.

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#5) On April 11, 2009 at 4:12 PM, iamnik77 (91.55) wrote:

Greed of the most disgusting type is the norm in America. We see it in the 10% executive payhikes and the 2% pay hikes to go with massive benefit cuts for those at the bottom of the ladder. This goes along with declining real wages, massive benefits cuts for workers, and the destruction of the dollar's spending power. The result is a vanishing middle class.

On top of this, the typical American is still a long way from the wealth buidling mentalities of some other countries. We are under tremendous pressure to have nice homes and nice cars while people in other cultures are living ten to one home to cut costs and accumulate some savings.

Many studies have shown that a person's hapiness has not as much to do with how much he has but how much he has compared to his neighbors. This is true for me as a male as it trickles right down into my dating life. Judging by looks and personality, I might be an "8" or a "9". However, I drive a nineteen year old car and live in a very humble one bedroom apartment. On top of that, I have never made much more than $30,000.00 a year. In the eyes of the opposite sex, my financial situation demotes me down to somewhere between a "4" and a "6", which means at close to age 30, I must continue to find ways to boost my earning power to find a better woman and start a family. Why should I pursue a family at this time when I know that making more money will allow me to date in a higher league? For me, I can say that money is the reason I don't have kids right now.

My generation is not having enough kids to support the future economy of this country. Immigration is the only solution I can see to this problem. 

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#6) On April 11, 2009 at 6:13 PM, apoorinvestor (< 20) wrote:

"My generation is not having enough kids to support the future economy of this country. Immigration is the only solution I can see to this problem. "


What I'm saying is -- import third world people, expect third world problems. Unless our people reproduce, we're going to start seeing the benefits of immigration &  diversity like Europe is -- ie: rise in gang rape, violent crime, murder, gangs, etc... actually the Hispanics & Blacks already give us this. We'll probably end up like South Africa, hiding behind barbed wire fences & armed security walls.

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#7) On April 11, 2009 at 6:17 PM, djkumquat (36.45) wrote:

vascectomy scholorships!

while the US birth rate may be declining, we are actually having record numbers of babies being born. i did my part to make 2007 the most ever. i'm one and done. expecting an obama victory baby bounce, thus making 2009 off the charts.

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#8) On April 11, 2009 at 6:22 PM, djkumquat (36.45) wrote:

bad policies (drug war, anyone?) give us rapes, violent crime, murder, etc... not hispanics or blacks or whatever group that may be poor, downtrodden, or even oppressed. apoorinvestor, your comments are just ignorance and bigotry.

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#9) On April 11, 2009 at 11:06 PM, russiangambit (28.87) wrote:

Immigration will save the US. Actually, we should allow more immigration right now to increase consumer demand. This idea is not popular, but it would work.

The only problem with immigration currently is the open border with Mexico, which allows is unskilled workers that are unable to build much in terms of wealth and thus put a huge burden on our social resources - schools, hospitals etc. US should reduce unskilled immigration (since it has plenty of unskilled americans who are unemployed) and increase skilled immigration, if it wants to continue being a rich country. Right now, it is exactly theopposite, they are closing down legal immigration, such as H1B (I was just reading an article about it in NY), while allowing unskilled illegal immigration from Mexico to continue. 

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#10) On April 12, 2009 at 1:39 PM, dwot (29.14) wrote:

Interesting views...

Russiangambit when I went back to school for my education degree in my 30s I had never seen so many people back in school doing second degrees.  I am going to completely disagree with your skilled versus unskilled worker views.  These people were all back in school because they had not found employment that gave reasonable compensation for their skills, all skilled and under or mis-employed.  What you can read in the grossly increased mature student numbers is under employed highly motivated skilled workers.

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#11) On April 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Beanfarmer (< 20) wrote:

Have any of you read any of Harry Dent's several books?

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#12) On April 12, 2009 at 9:34 PM, russiangambit (28.87) wrote:

Dwot, that is not what I observe in Texas. Unemployment is much higher for people with no degrees, say 7% with no degrees vs. 2-3% for ones with degrees. Plus, it depends on a kind of degree , if it is a liberal arts it is much more difficult to find a good paying job vs. if it is business or engeneering or computers science.

As for people getting 2nd degrees, I attribute it to the speed of progress. I work in IT, and here it is especially obvious. Something that you learned 5 years ago is as obsolete as something from the past century. You have to keep learning every day to stay relevant. A lot of older people struggle with that. It used to be that you learned a skill in college, lets say accounting, and you used it for the rest of your life.  These days even accounting  changes. You learn GAAP, then it is SOX, then it is IFRS. But for that very reason that it is slower moving accounting pays less than IT. So you might say accountants are underpaid, but I would say they are under-skilled when compared ot some other professions. Because accounting is easier to learn, there is also more supply, which drives wages down. Of course, one would want to be somewhere where there is less supply to get a higher salary. That would also make that person go get a 2nd degree.

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