A recent article by the US Population Reference Bureau produces some great charts and information on demographics in the US.

We are structurally bullish on the US economy largely because the economy’s demographics do not exhibit the same characteristics as other developed economies. However, the crisis has not gone without effects where the decline in economic prospects of young males in particular will delay family formation and push out child rearing even further. The following is a key trend to follow.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that more young couples are delaying marriage or foregoing matrimony altogether, possibly as an adaptive response to the economic downturn. Between 2000 and 2011, the share of young adults ages 25 to 34 who are married dropped 9 percentage points, from 55 percent to 46 percent, according to data from the Current Population Survey (CPS)

Obviously, the trend above is part of a more structural trend, but the longer the crisis lingers, the higher is the risk that the drop in marriage rates feeds into lower fertility. However, we would emphasize the beyond the social consequences of more births outside formal wedlock, the fact that many children are now born outside marriage is not necessarily  as bad as is implied below.

The decline in marriage may also affect conditions for children because of the growing number of births to unmarried parents. In 2009, nonmarital births accounted for 41 percent of all births in the United States. Although roughly half of these nonmarital births are to cohabiting couples, these unions tend to be less stable and have fewer economic resources compared with married couples.23 Therefore, declining marriage rates put more children at risk of growing up poor, which can have lasting consequences for their health and economic prospects.

In our view, the relatively stable fertility level in US society regardless of changing social conventions and structures surrounding child rearing is one of the cornerstones of a structurally sound US economy.

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