Falling fertility rates in the United States will trigger a "calamitous effect" on the economy if it hasn’t already, experts told Fox News Digital.
According to CDC data, between 2007 and 2022, the U.S. birth rate fell by 22%. Not a single state reported an increase in birth rates, although some experienced a slower decline than others.
"The U.S. birth rate is steeply declining, mimicking the patterns of other developed nations worldwide, causing the global population to stop growing sometime this century. The U.S. and other developed nations dropped below the replacement rate in recent years, meaning we are not producing enough children to maintain the population, much less grow it," demographic strategist Bradley Schurman explained to Fox News Digital. "Today, three-quarters of U.S. counties and half of the states have deaths outpacing births."
FILE-Pregnant woman reviews ultrasound test with her doctor. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Institute for Family Studies senior fellow Brad Wilcox said that we may already be seeing the effects.
"Below-replacement fertility means closing schools, shrinking college enrollments, fewer workers and consumers, and not enough taxes to pay for entitlements. We’re already seeing low fertility fallout hitting schools and colleges. But it will have big consequences for the economy as well, given that there will be relatively fewer workers and consumers, and less entrepreneurial activity, as the population of young adults in America falls across much of the nation," Wilcox told Fox News Digital.
Demographic Intelligence chief information officer Lyman Stone added that declining and delayed marriage rates also contribute to falling birth rates.
"Marital fertility rates have not declined by nearly as much. The delayed or postponement of marriages is the simplest sort of compositional factors behind falling birthrates," Stone said. "Income is coming later and later in life. The result is these milestones get delayed. You buy a house later, you get married later, you have a certain amount of savings later. All these things come later and the problems, they come later, but the ability to have a child is a kind of biological constraint. So by the time people feel ready to handle having children it’s sometimes too late."
FILE-A single mom bonds with newborn baby girl after delivery in the hospital. (Photo by Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
In 2022, Tesla CEO Elon Musk similarly warned in 2022 that "a collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far."
"Far too many people are under the illusion that Earth is overpopulated, even though birth rate trends are so obviously headed to population collapse," Musk said.
Schurman noted that while the U.S. population is expected to start falling in just a few decades.
"The U.S. population is generally projected to grow, albeit slowly, between 2023 and 2053, averaging 0.3 percent annually before the population plateaus and begins to decline. However, this growth will be driven almost exclusively by immigration," Schurman said. "The population shift will have a calamitous effect on the economy, evidenced by what's happening in rural America today, which is already experiencing rapid population aging and decline. No country in the world has increased its birth rates, leaving little hope for the U.S. to do so."
Stone offered simple ways that lawmakers could help encourage marriage and children, noting that the desire for larger families is on the rise.
He noted that for some people, "you lose a lot of benefits, it's very unfeasible for you to marry another working person. We need to address that. We need to make it so that marriage doesn't lead to a penalty from the government like it does for a lot of people. So addressing marriage penalties and addressing housing costs by aggressively building housing, both of those would have a signal impact on helping people have those kids that they say they want," Stone said.
Lindsay Kornick is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @lmkornick.