Salient to Investors:

  • US millennial women are holding off on motherhood, which bodes well for their economic and social mobility and that of their future children.
  • Isabel Sawhill at Brookings said lower US birth rates are permanent, even if some of the recession-induced decline reverses. Preventing unexpected births increases a child’s lifetime income by $52,000, while college and high school graduation rates both increase, and the chances of the child becoming a teen parent or a criminal decline.
  • DHHS said 2.66% of teens had babies in 2013, down 57% since 1991, while the mean age of mothers at their first child was 25.8 years in 2012 versus 21.4 years in 1970. The birth rate for women aged 20 to 24 reached a record low in 2013, while the rate for women aged 25 to 29 declined.
  • Amalia Miller at University of Virginia said that for each year motherhood is delayed, career earnings increase by 9%, work experience by 6%, and average wage rates by 3%.
  • Stephanie Ventura at the National Center for Health Statistics said the US teen birth rate still remains higher than many other developed countries, but we have made tremendous progress.
  • Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine at the NBER said media influences and the severity of the recent recession contributed to the reduction in teen births.
  • Philip Cohen at University of Maryland said there will be a temporary recovery in birth rates as the economy improves, as more women take advantage of the benefits that work and education bring and women have fewer children and later.
  • Dean Maki at Barclays said that all else being equal, declining fertility rates signal slower economic growth because of lower labor-supply growth.
  • BLS said that by age 27, 32% of women have a bachelor’s degree versus 24% of men.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics said young adults with a bachelor’s degree earned $46,900 in 2012, 57 percent more than those with a high school diploma.
  • William Emmons at FRB St Louis said future trends for human-capital development, income growth and ultimately consumer spending are positive due to increasing millennial women’s college attainment in absolute terms and relative to men.
  •  The Council of Economic Advisers said employed married women’s earnings are 44% of total family income versus 37% in the 1970s.
  • Mark Mather at the Population Reference Bureau said US fertility rates will continue to decline as households become increasingly dependent on female earnings due to the big increase in college women and wives increasingly earning more than their husbands, along with a bigger cost for women to have kids now.

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