American parents are having fewer babies, and it isn't just toy store sales that will suffer.
Call it the baby famine of the second decade of the new millennium. According to Fortune.com, the U.S. is facing an imminent baby shortage, so much so, that in the next five years, we won't have enough kids to replace the aging population.
In 2007, women were having an average of 2.12 babies each. Now, though, that average has dipped to an average of 1.9 babies per woman; ideally we should be having 2.1 babies.
The dearth in baby booming, so to speak, means certain sectors of the economy could suffer, from toy stores to home sales to Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I mean, who's going to eat a pint a day if not pregnant women?
But besides fewer car seats and minivans being sold, eventually fewer babies means a smaller generation of people paying into social security and taking part in the workforce, which could in turn lower America's standing in the world economy. According to Fortune, Japan is a prime example of a country where these side effects of having fewer babies are already happening, and it isn't pretty.
So why are American families getting smaller? It's probably due to a combination of factors, but among them are that, on the whole, we are increasingly dual-income-oriented and wait until later in life to conceive.
I'd venture to guess the Zika virus scare will do even more to discourage couples from reproducing. My husband and I were considering a fourth baby until recently, when we decided to table our plans until we know more about how extensively Zika will spread in the U.S. this summer.
Otherwise, I would say it'd be incumbent upon us to go ahead and have another child. No, not just because I obsessively love every single little thing about babies. For the good of society, duh!
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.