NPG Releases New Forum Paper on Millennials’ Impact on U. S. Population Growth and Sustainability

NPG President Don Mann finds strong evidence for that view in a new Forum paper by NPG’s senior economist and demographic researcher Edwin Rubenstein on How Millennials Are Slowing U. S. Population Growth and Enhancing Sustainability. Mann hails the author’s finding that, should the Millennials’ trends continue, NPG’s goal of a sustainable America is attainable.

Mann notes that the author conclusively documents how the U.S. fertility rate, already below replacement, declined 10.6 percent to 62.0 births per thousand U.S. women from 2007, when Millennials began entering their child-bearing years, to 2016. That fertility rate decline, the author determines, is driven entirely by millennial mothers in their teens and twenties. Another demographic indicator the author cites, the Intrinsic Rate of Natural Increase (projected population growth at zero immigration) has been negative for decades and plummeted sharply with the Great Recession and the entry of Millennials into child-bearing age.

Predictably, some are alarmed by this fall in fertility. But Mann notes that the author finds a growing acceptance among economists that a shrinking population is not necessarily a bad thing. According to Rubenstein, GDP growth may slow, but GDP per capita may well benefit. Fewer children could mean fewer workers in years ahead contributing to social security and Medicare. But Rubenstein notes that fewer children allow families to invest more in each child’s education, thus increasing their productivity. The author cites China, Japan and Germany as countries where vibrant economies have co-existed for decades with below replacement fertility.

Mann points out that Rubenstein’s work also provides extensive valuable analysis of the sources and…

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