It’s a trend that helps explain the falling birth rate, which in 2018 hit a record low in Michigan — and the nation.
“We’re at a fertility rate that is lower than the Great Depression, which is very significant,” says Pamela Smock, a sociologist with University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center quoted by Mack.
A big reason for that significance, Smock says: The current fertility rate of 1.7 births per woman has fallen below the replacement rate of 2.1, the number needed to maintain a stable population.
The issue of population shrinkage “is a very serious one,” says Ren Farley, a retired University of Michigan sociologist also quoted by Mack.
“Population growth stimulates economic growth,” he said. “Population decline presents a lot of challenges that people don’t think about,” such as having a sufficient workforce and enough younger people to support senior citizens.
In raw numbers, Michigan recorded 110,293 births in 2018 — the lowest number since 1941.)