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American women are having fewer babies than ever, according to recent CDC data.

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Even with low fertility rates, the overall population — along with GDP — will continue to grow until at least 2050, according to the Census projections. But this growth will increasingly rely on immigration.

Fertility rates tend to fall in response to a bad economy.

  • In the 1970s — as baby boomers entered the workforce, the pill and IUDs became more common, abortion was legalized, the oil shock hit and the economy struggled — the total fertility rate plummeted to levels near what we have today.
  • But it the late 1980s and onward during economic growth, it climbed to stay near replacement levels (2.1 births per woman), making the U.S. somewhat of an anomaly among developed economies, according to Global Aging Institute president Richard Jackson.

But during the current economic boom, fertility rates have been falling.

  • High costs of education, stagnant wages and more women working and delaying childbirth have all contributed, Richard Cincotta, director of the Global Political Demography Program at the Stimson Center, told Axios.
  • Whether fertility rates recover with the economy often depends on people's long-term expectations about future living standards, according to Jackson. "That's been seriously eroded since the Great Recession among millennials," he said. "They're not responding to the near-term economy because confidence in the long-term economy has been seriously dented."

What to watch: If fertility rates remain low or fall further, there could be fewer people entering the workforce in the future and GDP growth could slow, demographers say. Maintaining high levels of immigration could become even more important.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.