Rebecca Strauss of the Council on Foreign Relations offers a sobering perspective on America’s demographic future:
1. While the U.S. has a higher birthrate than the affluent market democracies of Europe and East Asia, labor force participation among men has been drifting down in recent years. The labor force participation rate of American men in their late 30s, for example, is lower than in almost every European country.
2. As we’ve often discussed in this space, the rate of increase in labor force quality in the U.S. is stagnant.
3. And finally, American children tend to experience higher levels of family disruption than their counterparts in other wealthy societies, and this has lasting consequences for well-being.
So America’s edge relative to peer societies in terms of demographic vitality is arguably outweighed by declining labor force participation, stagnation in educational attainment, and chaotic child-rearing patterns that damage the lives of future workers. The first two challenges are susceptible to well-designed policy interventions; the third is much less so, and it is arguably more consequential than the first two.