First, a fertility rate of 1.9 is nothing to worry about. It is still high by international standards and likely to tick back up as the economy recovers.
Second, young people cannot be “bribed” into having children through lower taxes or large baby bonuses. (Organizing work and school schedules to suit modern family life is likely to be more effective.)
Third, with fewer children, more public funds could be devoted to investments in education – expenditures that are badly needed if we want to remain economically competitive
Fourth, drops in fertility mean a smaller youth cohort 15 to 20 years later – a development that in the past has been associated with less crime and more jobs for new entrants.
Fifth, a comprehensive immigration bill could quell anxieties about financing our retirement costs, by allowing skilled workers from other countries to join our labor force.
Sixth, and most important of all, parents do a better job when they delay childbearing until they are ready to commit to both parenthood and marriage. If we could reduce early, unwed (and typically unplanned) parenting to Asian levels, lower fertility wouldn’t be a bad thing. Children would be better cared for and more upwardly mobile.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Should We Worry About Low Fertility? | Brookings Institution.
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