Where Are My Grandchildren?Submitted by S. F. Ehrlich Associates, Inc. on July 6th, 2018
June 30, 2018
If you’re a 50 or 60-something with adult children, you may occasionally wonder when you’ll become a grandparent. Unfortunately, according to Bloomberg Businessweek1, you may have to wait a little longer. “The number of births in the US fell in 2017 to its lowest in 30 years.”
The reasons why are varied: “(T)he share of twentysomething men who are employed still hasn’t fully recovered from the blow of the recession. As of April, it was down 2.4 percentage points for men age 20-24 (to 68.4 percent) and 2.2 percentage points for men age 25-29 (to 83.7 percent) compared with the last business cycle peak…”
If any of the aforementioned young adults are still living under your roof, the odds of you becoming a grandparent any time soon drop significantly. “The share of young adults living with their parents – an arrangement that makes it awkward to start a family – hasn’t declined in the recovery. The share of men age 25-34 living back home rose more than 5 percentage points from 2007 to 2017, reaching 19.6 percent. For women in that age group, the share rose 3.2 percentage points, to 12.5 percent…”
One explanation for this demographic shift is student loans. If you combine the high number of student loans with the increase in housing prices, it’s easier to understand why “the rate of homeownership among people under age 35 (dropped) to 35 percent last year from 42 percent in 2007…For many young couples, no house means no babies.”
Patience may ultimately reward those who may have given up on grandparenthood. “The only two age groups with higher birthrates in 2017 than in 2007 were those 35-39 and 40-44.”
Unfortunately, the more significant issue is the fact that “the birthrate for women age 20-24 is six times as high as that for women 40-44,” and it’s unlikely that the number of births by older cohorts will compensate for the decline among twenty and thirty-somethings.
An even bigger issue to ponder: If the national birthrate doesn’t increase, who’s going to support the growing number of retirees in this country?