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Category Archives: demographics

Yikes! Japan has more people over the age of 80 than under the age of 10, by Simon Black

There is no way Japan will be able to continue to fund the present level of old-age benefits. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Earlier this week the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs released its 2019 world population report… and there were a number of very interesting findings:

1) World population continues to grow slightly, but the rate of global population growth is at the lowest level since at least 1950.

 2) Global population growth rates are unevenly distributed. Developed nations (including the US, Japan, Western Europe) suffer from alarming declines in fertility rates, while developing countries are experiencing rapid population growth.

The 47 least developed countries in the world (mostly in Africa) are the fastest growing, and just NINE countries are expected to make up HALF of global population growth over the next three decades.

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Do Empty Cradles Matter? Look At Japan. By Lyman Stone and W. Bradford Wilcox

Japan and Western welfare-states have birth rates well below replacement. So who’s going to pay for pensions and medical care for the elderly? From Lyman Stone and W. Bradford Wilcox at theamericanconservative.com:

shuttertock

America’s fertility rate has fallen to its lowest point in history, 1.73 babies per woman, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control. The truth is starker still around much of the developed world, as noted by a new Institute for Family Studies report. Across Europe and Asia especially, each year brings more countries hitting their lowest fertility rates in history. In South Korea, for instance, the average woman can now expect to have less than one child.

In the face of global climate change, this worldwide birth dearth might seem okay. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York recently noted that some may even be wondering: “Is it OK to still have children?” Some experts have a different question: should we even care? Conrad Hackett, senior demographer at the Pew Research Center, recently asked this question at a forum on family issues hosted by the Brookings Institution. Why do we care if fertility is low?

In fact, we should care that fertility is falling, for at least three big reasons.

First and foremost, the reality is that fertility rates around the world, and in the United States, are lower than what women themselves say they want. About 40 percent of American women in their 40s report that they would like to have more children than they currently do. This figure is markedly larger than the approximately 20 percent of their peers who say they have more children than they would like. Such numbers are worrying because research tells us that women who “miss” their fertility ideals tend to be less happy than those who make them.

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25% of Millennials no longer having sex due to financial problems, by Simon Black

In many ways Americans are a lot poorer than they used to be. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

My grandfather was just a toddler when soldiers came home from World War One in 1918.

They brought the deadly Spanish Flu with them, which killed well over 50 million worldwide.

As a young adult, my grandfather struggled through the Great Depression with the rest of the world.

And just as things started looking up, World War II broke out.

Lucky for me, he survived it all.

After the war, my grandfather took a job as a teacher. And on that single salary he was able to buy a house, provide for his family, afford a car, and have a secure pension for when he retired.

His wife (my grandmother) started a small hair salon in the family living room to earn money on the side.

They saved nearly every penny they ever earned. They never went into debt.

And they invested conservatively, often buying short-term government savings bonds that paid  over 4% by the late 1950s– well above the rate of inflation.

This wasn’t just my grandparents’ experience either.  Back then, this was the fundamental promise of America: you were rewarded for working hard and saving money.

But now things are entirely different.

For starters, cost of living is totally out of control. My grandfather’s teaching salary was more than enough to support his family in a comfortable, middle class lifestyle.

Today that would be almost impossible.

More often than not, it takes two working parents to make ends meet in a typical household.

Census statistics show that just 25% of married households with children were dual income in 1950. Today it’s nearly 70%.

Plus, to even qualify for a lot of jobs today, you must have a university degree… which carries its own enormous costs.

Even after adjusting for inflation, a typical university education in the US costs over five times as much as it did in 1960, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A typical young person today emerges from university with student debt exceeding $40,000. And millions of young people have student debt exceeding $100,000.

Speaking of debt, my grandparents had none. And they had plenty of cash savings, as was typical of their generation.

But today’s median household (according to Federal Reserve data) has racked up consumer debt exceeding $30,000, with a bank balance of less than $5,000.

And that bank balance earns a pitiful interest rate of just 0.02%. So even for people who have savings, the interest they earn doesn’t keep up with inflation.

Housing costs are also out of control.

Home prices are near record highs, making it extremely difficult for young people to afford a  down payment.

And rents have been steadily rising for years, far outpacing the rate of inflation (and lackluster wage increases.)

Perhaps that’s why a survey from Zillow last year found that nearly 25% of 24-36 year olds were living with their parents. They simply can’t afford their own housing.

Coincidentally, a study from the University of Chicago last year showed that roughly 25% of people in their 20s reported having zero sex in the previous 12 months, almost the same amount as people living with Mom and Dad.

While this might sound comical, it matters: young people are putting off children as well.

In fact, the US fertility rate is now at its lowest level in DECADES, well below the amount necessary to maintain a stable population.

It’s simply too expensive to have kids.

When my grandparents started having children, the hospital bill was about $100.

Today it can easily be more than 100x that amount. And the cost of rearing a child today through the age of 18 can now exceed $200,000, not including university tuition.

Then there are retirement challenges as well.

Back in my grandparents’ era, it was common for workers to have well-funded private pensions.

Today private pensions are nearly extinct. And of the few that still exist, about 25% are insolvent.

Public pensions (as we discuss frequently) are in terrible condition, with a mutli-trillion dollar funding gap worldwide.

And then there’s Social Security, which is in such financial ruin that even the Social Security Administration admits the program’s trust funds will run out of money in 2034.

I also think back to how easily my grandmother was able to start her own hair salon. She bought a pair of scissors one day and started cutting hair in her living room. Simple.

Today you’d have to navigate a mountain of permits, licenses, bureaucracy, and legal liability, the cost of which is prohibitive for most people who dream about starting their own business.

Unsurprisingly, Census data show that the number of new startups in the US continues to decline.

This is a long way from the original Promise of America, where the average person could work hard, save money, and afford to retire.

Today, the system is no longer designed to provide any of that.

Wages and savings don’t keep pace with inflation. Debt has exploded. People are working harder and becoming less prosperous. And retirement is anything but secure.

These problems can’t be fixed in a voting booth. Or by waiting for the Bolsheviks to engineer prosperity for all. And certainly not by following the status quo.

A better solution is to walk a different path altogether– one of self-reliance and independence.

For example, you CAN secure your retirement. Not by relying on a broken pension, but by taking matters into your own hands with a more robust structure like a solo 401(k).

You can obtain a top quality university education by studying abroad at a fraction of the price.

You can start a new business in a tax-advantaged jurisdiction (like Puerto Rico, where you can pay just 4% tax on your profits).

There are countless solutions to fix these challenges. It just takes a little bit of education and the will to take action.

California Dream Has Become an Overcrowded Nightmare, by Joe Schaeffer

Let’s add overtaxed and overregulated to overcrowded. From Joe Schaeffer at libertynation.com:

The state’s leftist immigration policies choke the livable life out of urban centers.

The quality of life in the former paradise known as the state of California continues to decline precipitously. Overcrowding, strained resources, homelessness, and accompanying social welfare hazards seriously hamper the Golden State’s major urban population centers. Instead of acknowledging that some form of course correction to developments over the past 30-odd years is necessary, however, California’s Democrat politicians are steadfastly beating the drum for and attempting to accommodate massive legal and illegal immigration into their congested domains.

Sardine Cities

“The California ranch-house lifestyle — founded on sunshine and ample backyard space for a pool — has become increasingly unaffordable for middle-class families in urban areas where most jobs exist. Living space has tightened and become impossibly pricey for too many,” the Los Angeles Times reports in what reads very much like an elegy for a lost land.

“It was wonderful when our population was only 12 million in the 1950s and 22 million in the 1970s. But now we’re at 40 million and headed to 50 million by 2050,” The Times reports.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s solution: stack bodies up to the sky. The Democrat, a staunch advocate for illegal aliens, is turning a blind eye to the negative effects of encouraging foreigners to pour into his state and instead trying to handle the swell of lower income residents by building what The Times states will be“densely populated, multistory living [areas] near transportation centers.”

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Illinois’ demographic collapse: fewer immigrants, fewer babies and fleeing residents, by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

The people of Illinois are heading towards the exits. Understandable, given the state’s fiscal problems, insolvent pensions funds, and what’s sure to be continuously rising taxes. From Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner at wirepoints.org:

Since the turn of the century, Illinois has been in the midst of a perfect demographic storm. Residents are leaving the state in record numbers. The number of Americans moving into Illinois has hit new lows. Net foreign immigration has fallen by half. And the number of births has dropped by more than 20 percent.

These demographic forces have all combined into a single troubling fact: Illinois is shrinking. The state has lost population five years in a row. In 2018 alone, the state lost 45,000 people, the second-biggest population drop in the country.

The state’s growing domestic out-migration has been especially problematic. More Illinoisans are leaving the state at the same time that fewer Americans from other states are moving in.

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The “Fertility Crisis” Is a Government-Caused Crisis, by Ryan McMaken

The “fertility crisis” is only a crisis if it is the involuntary duty of the young to fund the benefits the old have granted themselves. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

anuary’s report on fertility from the CDC set off a new wave of speculation in the media about the alleged “fertility crisis.”

We continue to see headlines like Fortune magazine’s article “Americans Aren’t Making Enough Babies, Says CDC ” and we hear from experts in this Marketplace interview that replacement-level fertility, “is needed to sustain high living standards and a high quality of life.”

This latter sentiment takes us to the heart of the matter: when we hear about the fertility crisis, it is usually packaged as an economic crisis. That is, we’re told that standards of living will collapse if people don’t start to have more babies.

This argument, of course, should be noted as being distinct from other arguments— namely sociological, cultural, political, and religious arguments — in favor of higher fertility. Some of those are compelling.

I remain unconvinced, however, that a stagnant or declining population necessarily presents an economicproblem or a threat to the standard of living. The problems we were likely to encounter result from government programs and government spending — not from demography or markets themselves.

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The European Project Comes to an End, by Gefira

Europeans don’t want to be centralized and they’re not too found of immigrants, either, as the EU finds itself whirling apart. From gefira.org:

The end of the EU and the Balkans as China’s foothold in Europe

Though the end of the European Union is inevitable, the proponents of a further integrated or federal superstate are busy making a last effort to achieve their goal. The opposition against the project is mounting with every day. Europe is suffering from economic stagnation, and is facing a demographic calamity.

The pro-European establishment’s last hope was the newly-elected French President Emanuel Macron who was to revive the economy and integrate the European Union under French leadership. Gefira was of the opinion that all these expectations were misplaced. The once great nation is broken beyond repair. France’s problems are much worse than those of Italy. Though Italy has a higher debt-to-GDP ratio than France, France has a larger budget deficit, and the difference is that while Italy has a trade surplus France has a trade deficit, so the country cannot pay for its imports.

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