The Demographic Crisis is very real, and it’s going to be awesome (For young, fertile Americans.)
The latest innovation of our fear-and-panic news cycle is to stop beating the dead horse of “overpopulation” and slowly replace it with the looming specter of “demographic crisis.”
Personally, I think our media-overlords have jumped the gun. Faux-environmentalist pundits have been beating the drum of OVERPOPULATION for so long, I’m not sure that our impressionable citizens are emotionally prepared for marching to a new beat.
Ready or not, the narrative is shifting, and you are now supposed to worry about our aging population and its declining birth-rate.
Should we bother buying into the hype?
For family-oriented, emotionally stable Americans the “demographic collapse” narrative is a “Gotcha!” moment long in the making. We’ve been subjected to too many “conversations” with anti-human friends and relatives who insist that having children is a selfish imposition on the rest of the world.
Flipping the population “debate” on its head is a satisfying reversal… but is the problem real? And if it is, should us young people be popping out babies like rabbits?
Before we throw ourselves into a panic-driven flurry of reproductive intercourse, we need to temper our enthusiasm with some facts.
First, there are no global problems.
This so-called demographic collapse is widespread, but not universal. According to the UN, 48% of the world’s population resides in a nation with “sub-replacement fertility.”¹ If you are reading this article, you are almost certainly part of that 48%.
For a population to replace itself it needs to have a fertility rate of 2 or higher. As you can see from the above chart, most of countries with sub-replacement fertility are industrialized nations.
There is a lot of debate over why fertility rates are falling. Causes may include environmental pollution, educated women spending more time in the workforce, stagnated economies that don’t support family growth, and more.
I’m not qualified to say which factors carry more weight, but I do think it’s telling that low rates of reproduction seem to be correlated with city-living. According to the CDC, ~50% of women in rural environments have 2 or more children, versus ~40% percent in urban residences.²
It turns out that much like pandas, humans don’t reproduce well in captivity.
Despite rural America’s best efforts, the US is still barely treading water on maintaining its population. The census bureau is estimating a total growth of 0.04 in 2022, and they’re considering it a surge year³! Keep in mind, those numbers include population growth from legal immigration.
In 2020, The United States had 3.6 million live births⁴. More than 1 million people legally immigrated to the US in the same year⁵. That’s roughly a quarter of our population growth being imported. The Pew Research center projects that immigration will account for 88% of US population growth through 2065.
Raw population is only half the story. The other component to this economic time-bomb is that Americans are aging, fast.
Brace yourself: According to the Census Bureau, the number of adults over the age of 65 will reach 20% by 2040⁶.
That may sound fine, but back in the year 2000, only 12% of people were older than 65⁶. Have you noticed how old everyone is getting?
Check out these numbers:
The average farmer is more than 57 years old⁷.
The average carpenter is 42 years old⁸.
The average doctor is 53 years old⁹.
The average auto mechanic is 40 years old¹⁰.
These are not young people.
The essential workers who keep society actually running are getting long in the tooth. Many of them are nearing retirement. As today’s workforce slips into decrepitude, someone will need to step into their shoes to keep the gears of our economy greased and turning.
One man’s crisis is another man’s opportunity. I see two main demographic groups poised to take advantage in the coming decades.
The first is immigrants. If you’re a third-world citizen in a country with excess population, the “demographic collapse” might turn out more like the “demographic window.”
We are all familiar with the horrible conditions and low pay associated with third-world labor exports. While those violations are virtually certain to continue, they are an inevitable component of becoming an industrialized nation. Western Europe and the United States already went through the growing pains, which is why we have free time to performatively wring our hands at the state of the rest of the world.
The extra juicy opportunity that fertile third-worlders have knocking on their door is that modern, industrialized nations with high-standards of living already exist. When America was churning it’s schoolchildren’s fingers into steam-powered spinning wheels the 19th century, they were standing on the cutting-edge of civilization. The only way out was forward.
Fast-forward to the present day: the prosperous Westerners who grew wealthy off of the industrialization process will soon be forced to hand fistfuls of cash to anyone who can fill the void in their declining workforce.
Exporting our low-quality manufacturing jobs is old-hat. The next phase is importing even more of our service economy through immigration.
People are still going to need doctors, nurses, landscapers, handymen, shelf-stockers, mechanics, and everything else in-between. Not only will our massive service economy be starved for workers, but the education necessary to fill those roles is now available to anyone who can access the internet!
Services like Starlink are already opening the floodgates by providing internet to regions that have been economic backwaters since time immemorial¹¹.
Of course, nothing will be a cake-walk. Immigrants will need to overcome legal hurdles, language barriers, and adapt to brand new cultures in order to take advantage of these growing opportunities.
This brings me to the second group of people who stand to gain immensely from this so called collapse. Guess who faces none of those legal, linguistic, or cultural obstacles? Young, fertile Americans with useful skills.
Young, fertile Americans and their children will be stepping into the greatest seller’s-market for labor in recent history.
Heck, you don’t even have to be fertile. You can ride that sweet dual-income-no-kids gravy train and leave the labor market open for my smelly offspring.
Supply and demand dictates that when labor is in short supply, the price will go up. Skilled labor is going to be the crude oil of the 21st century, and as as a citizen of a first-world nation, you are sitting on a potential wellspring.
Immigration will be a part of the solution whether we like it or not. The only question is if Westerners will be able to stay relevant in a leaner economy despite our addiction to gender studies and communications degrees. (This coming from a guy publishing his unsolicited opinions on the internet.)
If you ask me, we have no excuses. We speak the language, our power lines are always electrified, and education is practically spilling out of our ears. We have every unfair advantage you could hope for in a market economy.
Now is the time to learn a programming language. Practice a trade skill. Invest in adult diaper stocks.
This is only a crisis if you allow it to be one.
We have the opportunity.
Let’s make use of it.
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