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This week’s worldwide question: How will future generations pay to care for the present?

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They are all part of the same human story.

After reading about the major implications of China’s shrinking population worldwide, I called a top US demographer to learn about what was happening to the population here at home.

My conversation with William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, went further than the two countries compare. Quote below.

(Note: If you’re not particularly interested in demographics, skip to the end what he had to say about US immigration. It’s a major lesson for Americans and, according to Frey, one of the keys to a stronger America’s future.)

WOLF: You’re a US-focused demographic. What was your immediate reaction to the news that China’s population was shrinking or shrinking?

FREY: I think a lot of people have known this for quite a while. You don’t need to be a highly skilled demographer to understand what years of one-child policies have meant in terms of population aging.

Because you have fewer young people, it makes the population very heavy in the end. And in addition, you’ve lowered the growth. But as the population ages, there are proportionately fewer women of their childbearing age. And coupled with strong restrictions on fertility.

Just a few years of higher fertility, which they’ve experienced in recent years, is far from enough to offset what happened over the years with strict policies.

I’m not surprised, either by the decline in population or the result, namely the strong aging of China’s population.

WOLF: Compare, if you can, news about China to what we’ve learned about the US from recent censuses.

FREY: The recent census shows that we’ve experienced the second-slowest population growth in a decade of our history.

The first was in the 1930’s when we had the Great Depression. Much of that is due to the lower fertility we experience over time. And this is a natural occurrence during developed countries, as more women come into the workforce, delay having children, maybe end up having fewer children because they put their careers or their work life before childbearing for a while. .

In particular, the past decade has been particularly difficult because much of the young millennial population has been trying to weather the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 – and this will extend into the next decade as it helped reduce fertility rates. in the United States.

Few of the census numbers have anything to do with the pandemic. The census was taken in April 2020. The pandemic was just starting around then, although I think some of the estimates we’ve seen since the census suggest that fertility continues to be underwhelming, particularly during the peak years of the pandemic.

There’s been a slight uptick since a very bad initial period, and of course, a large number of (pandemic-related) deaths that we didn’t expect.

RELATED: US birth rate to rise slightly in 2021 after sharp drop in first year of pandemic, CDC data shows

Add to that immigration, which started to fall slightly in the 2010s, especially since restrictions imposed during the Trump administration.

New data that just came out a few weeks ago shows that immigration has made a comeback in the past year. So that’s good news.

We saw that 2010s decade; The very low population growth that we have is a combination of long-term trends, very period-specific economic factors, and then immigration restrictions. Combine all that and we have somewhat lower population growth.

WOLF: In that 2020 data, there are states, such as Illinois, West Virginia, and Mississippi, whose populations have shrunk over the past 10 years. Do you hope it will grow to more states? Is the US on the road to a shrinking population like China?

FREY: No, the US is not dealing with a shrinking population the way China is.

I think we will continue to experience growth, but the growth is much slower. In recent years, the pandemic has created very slow growth, almost flat growth. Calendar year, I think July 2020 to July 2021 – we only had 0.1 to 0.2% growth over that period.

We’re not going to have that. We’re not going to get into that. We will continue to move up.

When you look at any given state, whether it’s Illinois or West Virginia, or any other state, the wild card with cases is not just fertility and death, but domestic migration – people moving around the United States.

States like Texas and Florida have attracted large numbers of domestic migrants for economic reasons, for employment reasons, for convenience reasons. States such as West Virginia, and more recently, Illinois, have greater domestic out-migration.

It’s true that nationally, we have lower growth in general because of lower fertility rates, higher deaths, and lower immigration. That makes matters even worse for these out-migration countries.

The rising tide lifts all boats as immigration rises, as fertility rises and death descends. So I’m expecting a bit of a cushion in the next few years as we emerge from the pandemic economy. But nothing like the years of very high growth that we’ve seen over the decades prior to this last decade.

WOLF: You have some interesting analysis of the 2020 data that shows not much the US population is shrinking, as you just described, but it’s changing remarkably. How has it changed?

FREY: One of the ways it’s changing is the population profile of the United States. A growing portion of our population is not white non-Hispanic – according to US Census terminology, these are people who identify as white but not as Hispanic and not as a person of any other race. That population has declined, especially among the younger section of the population, under the age of 18.

Much of our population growth comes from people of color – especially Latinos in numerical growth and Asians in percentage growth – as well as other groups. The black population is growing, though not as fast as other groups.

The other part of that is population growth of people of color is much more dominant in the younger sections of the population. The 2020 census shows there is a minority white population among our children, people under the age of 18.

That means, of course, 10 years from now, people who are in their 20s will be in that situation. We will be a much more racially diverse country than we were before.

The whitest part of our population is, of course, the senior population, baby boomers, and people who are older than baby boomers. That’s simply because of immigration and the children of immigrants and the younger population that Latinos and Asians associate with, whether they are second or third generation Americans, tend to be younger.

It makes our country younger and, returning to our earlier discussion, the reason we are not aging as fast as many other countries – not only China, but many countries in Europe – is because we have experienced decades of immigration and the children and grandchildren of immigrants help make our country younger than if we didn’t have it.

WOLF: It allowed me to pivot to other things. The big policy discussion in Washington is about the national debt. And soon there will be discussions about things like Social Security and Medicare and how and whether to cut it. What do you think about how a changing population will affect our safety net?

FREY: You have to talk to someone who is an actuary to see what happens when the Social Security Trust Fund gets dissolved.

But the idea is that we’re going to have an older population and at the same time we’re going to have a much simpler working-age population or children’s population for the foreseeable future, at least for the next 20 or 30 years. .

As all the baby boomers are moving into older age groups – baby boomers are a large group of people who are getting older, more than half of the baby boomers are already over 65 and the rest will be there by 2030 – does that mean people will be working less longer than age 65, perhaps, when they get to that age.

That still means there will be enough people who will depend on Social Security, Medicare and such government funds for their own well-being. Since the younger sections of the population aren’t growing as fast, that means there’s more pressure on them, or at least a different kind of dependency that needs to be placed between the younger and older generations.

It’s kind of interesting that many older baby boomers are, politically speaking, inclined to oppose immigration as a problem. For various reasons, surveys show that they think it changes the country negatively, you change the culture of the country or something.

But many of them will rely heavily on these young people as they retire and need such services. I wonder if these young people will hold the same attitude about that older generation or when they are asked to be able to support them in the future.

WOLF: And something that we’re also seeing at the moment in France, where they’re trying to raise the retirement age – is this going to be a world problem?

FREY: Most of the countries that we call developed countries, industrialized countries are experiencing this kind of aging phenomenon.

We’re in a somewhat better position than some European countries because we’ve had healthy immigration in the last few decades, especially the 90s to early 2000s and the beginning of this last decade – not the end of this last decade.

I think a lot of these other countries have to deal with that. Countries like France and other European countries have stronger government support for parents than we do in many ways, so the burden may be harder there in terms of how they’re going to deal with it.

We’ve changed, in the US, the retirement age a little bit in the past and raised it a little bit. There may be a discussion about that.

With the number of people comes the number of voters. And as more and more older people move into that age bracket, it wouldn’t be a very popular political position to say that we’re going to limit Social Security in some way.

WOLF: We’re talking about immediate trends. I’m curious what you think about long term population trends. What will the US be like 100 or 150 years from now?

FREY: That’s a really hard thing to predict. I think the wild card for us, in terms of how we predict and what we predict, is immigration.

If we just start from a standard demographic point of view – if you start with the current population in terms of age and sex and race structure – there are various ways of projecting forward what the future population size will be, what the future age composition will be. population will.

The wild card is not the standard base population I just described. How many immigrants will come to the group? We have a huge opportunity in this country, because so many people want to come here from all over the world – from rich countries to poor countries – to be able to use immigration as a tool to shape our demographics going forward.

There are all these commissions in the White House. There should be a demographic commission that deals, among other things, with immigration.

Seriously. Immigration has become a political football. Nobody talks about it seriously in terms of congressional legislation, and if they did, it would never pass. It becomes a kind of culture.

People really need to understand this demographic – how we would have aged without immigration over the last few decades and how we would have aged rapidly in the future if we didn’t go back. Understand what immigration policy means to keep our age structure reasonable and not high age dependency.

Have ideas about immigration policy, about how people can contribute to the country’s economy, to its society – and serious discussions, rather than just a political toss and turns.

The resident population grew by 0.4% in 2022, the Census Bureau said Thursday, rebounding from last year when population growth was nearly flat at 0.1%. There are now 333.3 million people living in the US, after adding nearly 1.3 million last year.

Is the UK population declining?

Is the US population declining? dec. 22, 2022 â After a historically low rate of change between 2020 and 2021, the US resident population will increase by 0.4%, or 1,256,003, to 333,287,557 in 2022, according to the Bureau’s national and state population estimates and components The 2022 Vintage US Census changes were released today.

Why is UK population growing so slowly?

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – The United Kingdom’s population growth is projected to slow dramatically in the next decade, in large part as lower assumptions about future fertility rates make net immigration an important variable over the coming decades.

Is the UK population growing or Shrinking?

The population size of Great Britain is now over 66 million people, the largest ever. See the article : “What common travel advice are you ignoring on purpose?” (48 Answers). In 1950, the population was 50 million: it is projected to pass 70 million by 2031.

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What state is losing population the fastest?

The biggest gains from last year’s net domestic migration were in Florida (318,855), Texas (230,961) and North Carolina (99,796), while the biggest losses were in California (-343,230), New York (-299,557) and Illinois (-141,656). ). On the same subject : Why this woman recreates the journeys of history’s greatest explorers.

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Why is the US population shrinking?

The decline in US population growth is likely due to a variety of factors: lower immigration rates, aging of the population, and declining fertility rates. On the same subject : Shaking up a career: The path to a role in sports sustainability is anything but a straight line. The decline in net immigration to the United States was a key factor in the country’s declining population growth rate.

Where is the US population shrinking?

Is the United States shrinking?

2021 will be the first time since 1937 that the US population has grown by less than a million people, representing the lowest numerical growth since at least 1900, when the Census Bureau began annual population estimates.

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