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August 23, 2021 11:06 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs sits down with Lyman Stone to discuss his new report “Births are Back: Did Government Stimulus Fuel a Baby Boomlet?” Stone shares how U.S. fertility rates had been declining for over a decade—with a steep drop during 2020—but things seem to be turning around in 2021.
Family policy matters and engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will flow better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters. Tracy Devitt Griggs thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters as much of the world hunkered down in the midst of so many unknowns over the last year. Many couples put their plans to have children on hold.
What does this mean for the future and are there any public policy implications. Well today's guest is been watching these trends closely and joins us today to discuss his new report. Births are back did government stimulus fuel a baby boom.
Let line in stone is a research fellow at the Institute for family studies, and adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and chief information officer of the consulting firm demographic intelligence limestone welcome to family policy matters. So tell us about this decline in US conceptions and births and is it still continuing today towards decline in birds in the first quarter 2021 2020 is a bigger decline than you would expect just from the pre-existing trends suggest a good early months of covert were really not a good time to make a baby as far as a lot of Americans will hurt so it is a pretty sharp decline about what we see during most asserted crisis in most societies is the conception tend to fall, and as a result, births, and fall. Nine months later, however, we have seen a bit of a turnaround in recent months, so December January February work were pretty bad months for births, but by April Murray in June. Early indicators suggest that births kind of were turned to normal levels much faster than anticipated, but really encouraging sign because after the 2007, 2008 recession took a very very long time.
Years never really happened that births returned to prior level but have never really normalized the factor were seeing a rapid normalization in birth rates after this particular event suggests that it's cause for optimism and it is strongly suggested that some of our societal responses to covert may have been may be better than we give ourselves credit for. When you say were returning to normal course immediate pre-coded levels but fertility rates had already been declining in the US and other countries. In recent decades right so why, why do you suppose that is seen the declining fertility rate and really lost 15 years in particular for variety reason the great recession. Of course, triggered a major economic shift. There is a very slow recovery in recovery but didn't really succeed in helping young people build assets very well. We didn't really see any recovery in and household wealth of younger households at least as of 2019. So that certainly contributed to a durable decline in fertility in this recovery I'm talking about. It is just a recovery to 2019.
It's not a return to 2007 is not a baby boom. It's just getting back to those already historically low 2019 birth so it's encouraging that maybe covert isn't going to put us on a permanently lower trajectory but were still not in a good place both due to economic changes, wider social changes. Changes in attitudes towards family and children, and a whole host of factors.
Speaking of the attitudes toward children and families. I've heard comments from people when they see a large family, suggesting that that's not right or that's not moral. So where where is that kind attitude come from your family size prejudice is a significant issue and it does show up as something that some people are concerned about, not real experiences with so you know where does this come from some of it I have to say is those of us who like a big family and have our kids want our kids.
We are adopting a family norm that is very different from the culture we live in.
And so it's easy to feel discriminated against or to feel the prejudice of others, even if nothing on toward his intended car seat laws aren't intended to discriminate against you, but they are harmful. Our society is basically built for to get but then as you know there is sort of another side of this as well. You do sometimes run into really conscious and overt hostility to large families. This comes from a variety of places. Sometimes it's assumed that large families are simple cultural backwardness. Means that women are barefoot the kitchen uneducated and you know, not having opportunity in life to get the sense that large families must necessarily be a sign of oppression and backwardness, of course, we know that's not true. In developed country contact the entire family size is mostly associated with women who report wanting more children so their family sizes not driven by oppression but by fulfillment of that specific desire and ambition, and places now comes from is is climate concern. The population concerned that these big families are contributing to climate change their they're not pulling their weight on the social project of fighting climate change in their making life harder for all the rest of us. This is total bunk. Large families are more carbon, efficient, and small families and course having more kids does not increase your income level and as a result having more kids not really can increase your carbon footprint credible science based advice on how to deal with climate change.
Like what we see from the intergovernmental panel on climate change does not recommend any population -related measures to combat climate change because they don't work.
They don't help, they have nothing to do with actually tackling the real drivers climate change listening to family policy matters weekly radio show and podcast of the north Carolina family policy Council. This is just one of the many ways in seizing and educating citizens across Mr. Alana about policy issues that impact a lot of families.
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Visit our firstname.lastname@example.org units in C family.org and be sure to sign up to receive our email updates, action alerts, and of course our flagship publication family North Carolina magazine. We also love for you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and CMO's and a lot of times when you talking about the increase in fertility rate you say this is good news its positive why for those people who may not follow this. Why is it important that we have a strong birthrate. What does this do for us.
There's one do for us what is this do for me. So for me I want a certain number.
Kids maybe there's a little bit of wiggle room on it but probably have an idea of the family house, and most people have an idea of the family they want and on average most people say that they want two or three kids right now. The total fertility rate in US, only about 1.6 and change which means on average people to have one or two kids. Which means, on average, people are to be missing one child.
They wanted to have. So what is this do for us.
The society level hardly even matters when you consider the first problem is just that there's a lot of people who want a certain family life is not going to get.
So the first thing it does is that we should have a lot more disappointment unfulfilled hopes and is as people age, loneliness and isolation in our society that is as long as fertility rates are below are people say they want. We got a problem, no matter what the other social consequences may be. However, there are other social consequences, particularly in well educated society, low fertility rates are associated with less entrepreneurship, less technological innovation associated with lower rate of per capita economic growth there associated with higher inequality, lower economic mobility in countries that have good you know, health education systems like like the US higher fertility is economic, and social boon to society and low fertility creates long-term challenges to talk about what some of those long-term challenges might be just gave us some of the positives of a growing fertility rate. What what could some of the negative space over courage is the inverse of the positives right so is it higher fertility rate need to say more economic dynamism in the form of no more entrepreneurship, amortization, lower fertility does have the opposite effect lower economic dynamism in the real estate market is a nice example. Say, well, what happens to real estate values.
When population is growing on the whole they go up when I was given metro area's growing population real estate demand stronger prices tenderized and so those of us with will stay well to do well when population is falling though what happens. While there is less demand for houses. There's fewer buyers reach seller prices tends to fall. Your report is entitled births are back to government stimulus fuel.
A baby-boom leg. So what's the answer to that question. There's two big drivers we think of this return to normal fertility. The first one is that over the summer of 2020.
Many Americans, they'd already shifted to route to remote work. But as we got hit by a second wave in the summer 2020 of coded a lot more like the cobras can be around for long time and a lot of employers began adopting more permanent remote work plans and a lot of employees started to realize how really remote work a long time and remote work. We know from prior research promotes fertility when people are better remote work options are more likely to have babies so it through this shift, remote work, especially people's expectation that remote work was gonna stick around for a while to come. Probably use people into place really felt comfortable having a child now. The economic situation was very bad around them. This gets to the second major driver which is government support. But even of the economic time is bad.
Family household incomes actually rose during COBIT and that was because of stimulus checks generous unemployment insurance. Expanded child tax credit.
These kinds of programs effectively gave Americans massive per-person financial payments give them de facto paid attorneys believe that made it so that families could kind of make the transition they might've wanted to make for a while so on the whole these two factors more generous support for families and of course was for families because most aid was given on a per person basis so more generous support for families and then also the shift to remote work combined to really give people the confidence they needed to have a child are there some policies that you think we should be considering in light of what you're seeing on that the data trends absolutely so I think one thing is that we should be thinking about ways that we can facilitate this transition towards remote work. Can governments do something to wear perhaps born where economical to facilitate faster shift.
I just say faster because a lot of jobs are headed this way one way or another.
So to considerable extent, what were really thinking about is not can we make a job become remote, but can we make it remote in 2023 instead of 2027 right so accelerating the shift to remote work is an important thing, and then another is extending the generous child tax credit. Obviously I'd put, we might prefer some other specific program designs and the streaking that could be done but in general, maintaining generous direct cash support for childbearing is an essential component of any serious policy to support American families not supporting direct cash transfers to families on the basis of fertility and you're not really doing anything to support family and fertility.
What were just in time for this week.
But before we go limestone where listeners go to reach your report and learn more about your work toward discussing today is published at the Institute for family studies were I'm a research fellow, of course you can always follow me on Twitter right tweet often prolifically and in the on a variety of related and unrelated topics at Lyman Stone KY limestone, author of the new report.
Births are did government stimulus fuel up baby-boom. Let thanks so much for being with us today on family policy matters even listening to family policy matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plenitude in again next week to listen to the show online and to learn more about NC families work to inform, encourage and inspire families across Carolina go to our website it NC family.award that's NC family.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family