The Glass Hammer: Movers & Shakers With Rupal Shah
Rupal Shah, principal, PGIM Fixed Income, describes her career journey.
When the coronavirus pandemic first struck in early 2020, some speculated that lockdowns would lead to a boom in American births as couples were forced to stay home.
The opposite happened instead: U.S. population growth decelerated in 2020 and even further last year, to the slowest pace in the 246-year history of the nation, according to census data. Declining birth rates, elevated deaths from Covid-19, and less immigration created the first year since 1937 that the country’s population grew by less than 1 million people.
“The big story is the U.S. hitting essentially zero population growth” of about 0.1% last year, William Frey, the veteran demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said in an interview.
The Covid-19 pandemic sped up what has been the most significant demographic trend shaping our species in recent decades: declining fertility rates around the world. The average family had five children in 1952; today, the figure is now under three and falling.
In the U.S., while the baby boomer generation of those born between 1946 to 1964 are aging into retirement, younger generations including millennials aren’t reproducing as rapidly, creating a “double-barreled effect” where the population’s proportion of child-bearing women is shrinking, Frey said.
The combination of fewer babies and lengthening lifespans (excluding the recent impact of Covid) means that the U.S. population has been growing older, as is true for most of the rest of the planet. Even formerly high-growth regions of Latin America and Asia have slowed down; only Africa has fertility rates higher than the 2.1 births per mother replacement rate.