Demographic Winter Comes to America

US Births and Deaths by County Chart

Demographic Winter occurs when a country or state is facing long-term population decline due to falling birth rates, as is now happening in Japan, Russia and much of Western Europe. Put simply, there are not enough young people to replace older generations as they die off.

Demographic Winter will have severe economic consequences. In economic terms, this means fewer workers will be available to businesses, and there will be fewer customers to buy their goods and services.  This dynamic creates the conditions of an economic depression in which business revenue falls year after year simply because there are fewer and fewer customers.

According to the most recent 2012 “components of population change” (xls) data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are now two states where there are more deaths than births–Maine with 103 more deaths than births and West Virginia with 1,606 more deaths than births.

But wait . . . there’s more. If you drill down to the 2012 county level components of population change data you will find that one of every three counties in America has more deaths than births. As shown in the graphic above, it appears that nearly every state, except Utah and New Jersey, has a dying county.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Demographic Winter will have severe economic consequences–how severe? Rob Arnott and Denise Chaves recently studied the economic impact of Demographic Winter and found that:

“Our main goal in presenting these results is to correct the common misconception that developed countries went through a ‘normal’ period of high growth, as if we are all entitled to fast-growing prosperity. In reality, the developed world is entering a new phase in which the low fertility rates of past decades lead to slow growth (in many countries, no growth) in the young adult population; young adults are the dominant engine for GDP growth.”

Based on this negative economic impact of declining young people, they were able to estimate how this will affect future growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They found that over the past 60 years, demographics added about 1 percentage point to America’s GDP growth. So if 3 percent GDP growth is considered normal, the reality is that 2 percent was productivity growth (producing more with less) while 1 percent was demographic growth.

With Demographic Winter, they estimate that the plus 1 percent due to demographics becomes a negative -1 percent (a 2 percentage point swing). The “new normal” for economic growth in America becomes 1 percent–2 percent productivity growth with a demographic drag of -1 percent.

Needless to say, this is very bad news. The American economic dynamo that we all know today will slow to a crawl and recessions and depressions will become more frequent. This will certainly spill over into politics–after all older people vote and young people not-so-much–which will likely have additional negative impacts on the economy and, more importantly, personal liberty.

There are many reasons for Demographic Winter coming to America–ranging from issues such as birth control to educated women. I will explore potential solutions in future posts, but for now we need to spread the word about Demographic Winter. Check out the movie titled “Demographic Winter” below . . . it’s worth the trip.

It’s Almost Easter: Let’s Look at What Jesus Had to Say About Mothers

Cross.The.Passion

Women have a finite amount of time and must choose how to allocate that time. With 75% percent of women now in the workforce, it is clear that women are choosing to allocate their time to their professional life instead of raising children. So, why is that a problem ?

Unfortunately, there are now too few productive young people (working) to support those over 65. This is a huge problem sometimes referred to as Demographic Winter. When boomers were children, the average number of children per family was 4. Now that families are defined differently, we must  look at the number of children per woman which is now 2.06 per woman (fertility rate). However, the number of children per all families is .90. From a public policy perspective, this drop in demand for children is clearly troubling.

Read across all American Catholic Churches this past Palm Sunday, look what Jesus had to say about women and fertility. Just like the popular bumper sticker
No Farms–No Food we have
No People–No Human Race because women make little people.

From Luke 22:14—23:56

As they led him away
they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian,
who was coming in from the country;
and after laying the cross on him,
they made him carry it behind Jesus.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus,
including many women who mourned and lamented him.
Jesus turned to them and said,
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep instead for yourselves and for your children
for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
‘Blessed are the barren,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed.’
At that time people will say to the mountains,
‘Fall upon us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
for if these things are done when the wood is green
what will happen when it is dry?”

Fixing Japan’s Demographic Disaster

Japan - Kyoto

Recently I’ve been trying to catch-up on the backlog of The Economist magazines that have been accumulating on my bedside table. As I perused the magazines, I came across this article titled “Land of Wasted Talent.” The article starts off simple enough:

Unlike an earthquake, a demographic disaster does not strike without warning. Japan’s population of 127m is predicted to fall to 90m by 2050. As recently as 1990, working-age Japanese outnumbered children and the elderly by seven to three. By 2050 the ratio will be one to one. As Japan grows old and feeble, where will its companies find dynamic, energetic workers?

But then things get weird. The obvious answer to me was — have more children . . . right? Well, no.  The answer, according to The Economist, is to throw more women into the workforce. Huh, say what?

I’m sorry, but where is the connection between having more women working and fixing Japan’s demographic disaster? The lack of internal logic like this article is one reason why I have a backlog of Economist magazines.

Frankly, the magazine’s quality of writing seems to be going downhill in pursuit of ideological purity (of a general leftist slant, it is a British magazine afterall). As such, I feel less compelled to read it on a regular basis. And if I see more anti-family articles like this one, maybe I’ll save myself a few bucks and cancel it altogether.

photo by: Marc Veraart