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U.S. birthrates are down again. But there is some good news.

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27.05.2019

Media reality No. 1: The urgent beats the important. And so there was much more coverage of the nastiness between President Trump and the Democrats than of a potentially more consequential development: the continuing dramatic decline in the U.S. birthrate.

Some 3,788,235 babies were born last year, 2 percent fewer than in 2017 and the fewest since 1986, according to a May 15 report by the National Center for Health Statistics. The total fertility rate, a record low of 1,728 births per 1,000 women, is below what is required to maintain the rapidly aging U.S. population of 327.2 million without immigration.

Media reality No. 2: If cause for concern can be found in the news, it will be. The articles that did cover the baby bust emphasized its troubling implications, attributing it to lingering family financial insecurity after the Great Recession — and predicting labor shortages or unsustainable Social Security obligations.

Another negative implication: The nation requires more immigration, yet the aforementioned conflict in Washington precludes rational legislation to make it happen.

For all that, the birthrate report included one piece of good news, spectacular enough — assuming anyone notices it — to restore faith in this country’s ability to handle even apparently intractable problems.

Specifically, births to teenagers — mothers between the ages of 15 and 19 — continued their decades-long decline, reaching 17.4 per 1,000. This is........

© Washington Post