2018 saw the US birthrate fall by 2%, making it the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the provisional birth rate report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is thought that the cause of this is due to a cultural shift in people of childbearing age; the lack of job security is driving people to have smaller families at a later age. Furthermore, due to political and environmental turmoil, they feel less optimistic about the future and the world that they would be bringing a child into. Additionally, the lack of parental leave and other support systems makes it hard to juggle work and a family.
It is predicted that the US’ future population growth will increasingly rely on immigration.
Falling birthrates lead to an ageing population, which poses a number of challenges such as gaps in the job market, pressure on healthcare and a strain on funding public services and social housing. If there is a lack of workforce and skills, the US economy would suffer greatly.
However, if the country’s population is stabilised by increased immigration, they could experience an economic dividend as the driving reason for migration to the US is for work.
Additionally, the cultural shift towards choosing to not have children due to the uncertainty of the future of the planet signifies an awareness of the condition of the planet. Although the reaction of this awareness is bleak, it suggests that people are willing to alter their lifestyles in dramatic ways.