U.S. baby boomlet an economic boon

Economists say the 2 percent boost in the U.S. fertility rate is good news for businesses and future tax revenues.


Scott Jagow: We seem to be in the middle of a baby boomlet -- the U.S. fertility rate increased 2 percent between 2005 and 2006. Nancy Marshall Genzer looks at the economic impact.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: Most industrialized nations have low birthrates and aging populations. Not us -- in 2006, birth rates were high enough to stabilize the population for the first time since 1971. Nan Marie Astone of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health says the baby boomlet is just big enough to replace aging workers.

Nan Marie Astone: You want to have a reservoir of good workers to fill those jobs and grow our economy.

Florida State University economist Frank Heiland says that reservoir generates taxes to keep Social Security afloat.

Frank Heiland: We will be talking less about severe cuts to Social Security benefits or severe increases in the normal retirement age than we currently are.

Heiland cautions that the higher birth rate might not last. We had a temporary population blip in the late '80s. After that, it was bye-bye baby... until the 2006 boomlet.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.


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