As US Birth Rate Declines, Programs Like Social Security Need Immigration to Survive
Birth rates are falling in the United States at the same time more Americans are reaching retirement age. Together, these two trends present enormous economic challenges for the nation. A growing number of retirees are leaving the labor force and relying on programs like Social Security and Medicare. But there aren’t enough younger workers able to take their place.
If not for immigration, this pool of younger workers would be even smaller than it already is. As a result, immigration is playing a key role in supporting the country’s labor force, tax base, and contributions into benefits programs.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of births in the United States in 2020 was down 4% from the previous year. This marked the sixth year in a row that births have declined and amounts to the lowest number of births in the country since 1979.
The decline in the birth rate is a major factor underlying the sluggish growth of the U.S. population. The first round of data to come out of the 2020 Census reveals that the 2010s witnessed the second-lowest population growth rate in U.S. history.
Between 2010 and 2020, the number of people in the United States grew by only 7.4%. The only time population growth ever fell lower than that was during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The last year the United States saw the number of births increase was in 2014.