What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Is a Poor Economy to Blame for All-Time Low Birthrates?

June 26, 2014, 10:30 AM
Baby

What's the Latest?

According to population estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau., more non-Hispanic whites in the United States are dying than are being born. This is the second straight year where deaths in this demographic have outnumbered births. Haya El Nasser of Al Jazeera reports:

The Census Bureau estimates that there were just under 2 million births to whites who are not Hispanic, compared with 2.3 million births at the peak of the economic boom in 2006–07 — a 13 percent drop in just six years.

Despite not being included in the above statistics, the birth rate among Hispanics in the U.S. is also down.

What's the Big Idea?

As El Nasser's reporting suggests, the Great Recession is at least partly to blame for the declining birth rates -- 13% in six years is a staggering drop. El Nasser also suggests that the plunge in the Hispanic birthrate can be tied to a poor economy that has also stemmed Hispanic immigration (she notes that Asian immigrants have outnumbered Hispanic immigrants the past two years).

The so-called Baby Bust has taken many by surprise. Again, El Nasser:

The agency had projected 7 percent more total births in 2013 than what the NCHS reported in its preliminary report. Women gave birth to 281,000 fewer babies than the 4.2 million that the census had projected.

In addition, states like California and Florida are rapidly aging with the number of deaths outnumbering births. But the average age is decreasing in states in the midst of economic booms, such as the energy-rich Great Plains states.

Again, we see the economy playing a factor in the makeup of a population. While economic factors certainly play a role in decreased birthrates, the coming-of-age of the professional female millennial could also be a factor. College-enrolled women far outnumber college-enrolled men. With tuition and debt having grown to ridiculous levels, you expect fewer educated women to choose her early-to-mid 20s to start a family.

One other hypothesis that relates to the recession: starting a family while young is made nearly impossible by the same restrictive economy that prevents millennials from pursuing home ownership.

Simply put, this current economic environment is not conducive to the "get married, have a couple kids, and go buy a house with a white picket fence" version of the American Dream. Whether that's the dream the emerging generation wants is a whole other discussion.

Read more at Al Jazeera. The story includes information about many of the report's fascinating statistics.

Photo credit: Nadezda Cruzova / Shutterstock

 

Is a Poor Economy to Blame ...

Newsletter: Share: