January 15, 2008

A BABY BOOMLET:

Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years. The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population, especially a growing number of Hispanics. That group accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Hispanic white women and other racial and ethnic groups were having more babies, too. . . .

An examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those countries have been lower than the U.S. rate for several years, although some are on the rise, most notably in France. . . . To many economists and policymakers, the increase in births is good news. The U.S. fertility rate — the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime — reached 2.1. That’s the “magic number” required for a population to replace itself.

Countries with much lower rates — such as Japan and Italy, both with a rate of 1.3 — face future labor shortages and eroding tax bases as they fail to reproduce enough to take care of their aging elders.

Interesting. I credit the Spears family.

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