(OPINION) The dip in the US birthrate isn’t a crisis, but the fall in immigration may be

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in May 2021 that the nation’s total fertility rate had reached 1.64 children per woman in 2020, dropping 4% from 2019, a record low for the nation.

The news led to many stories about a “baby bustharming the country. The fear is that if the trend continues, the nation’s population may age and that will lead to difficulties in funding entitlements like Social Security and Medicaid for seniors in the future.

But as a statistician and sociologist who collaborates with the United Nations Population Division to develop new statistical population forecasting methods, I’m not yet calling this a crisis. In fact, America’s 2020 birth rate is in line with trends going back over 40 years. Similar trends have been observed in most of the U.S.‘s peer countries.

The other reason this is not a crisis, at least not yet, is that America’s historically high immigration rates have put the country in a demographic sweet spot relative to other developed countries like Germany and Japan.

Adrian Raftery, The Conversation, June 21, 2021
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