A Geriatric Future

March 29, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

David Brooks writes “If the 20th century was the century of the population explosion, the 21st century… is looking like the century of the fertility implosion”. He notes:

  • Iran’s average birth rate is now similar to New England – the region with the lowest fertility in the United States.
  • In Middle Eastern countries in particular the drop in birth rates has been record-breaking.
  • This is a problem because, as Tyler Cowen notes: “These societies will be old before they will be wealthy. Which means perhaps they will never be wealthy.”
  • This doesn’t necessary have to be true. South Korea and Taiwan managed to grow despite declining birth rates. But it’s much easier to grow if you have a growing population.
  • European and Asian countries are dealing with the same trends.
  • Due to immigration the United States’ birth rate remains relatively high but if everybody else is getting older then American living standards will still be hurt.

To read what people mean by the “Gray Tsunami”, the implications of Russia’s high death rates and low birthrates, and why even India’s population growth might run into problems click here.

Source: The New York Times

Via: Marginal Revolution