Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, August 18, 2016



With all of the eye-popping events in the Rio Olympics, combined with all the jaw-dropping comments in the Presidential Elections, here's a story you might have missed. Last week, an alarming study was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It discovered that the birthrate in the USA has fallen to its lowest rate ever. This goes all the way back to the 1910 Census, when the US first began calculating such data. Wow!

Let's dig deeper: In the first three months of 2016, only six babies were born for every 100 women, aged 15 - 44. While the birthrate has been in steady decline since 1970, the sudden 10% dip in the last five years warrants our attention. There is some good news. The study also found that women are giving birth at an older age: 26.2 is the new average. This means that teen pregnancies are down and the 30 -44 group is at an all-time high: Every tenth woman is this group will give birth this year. That means more babies come to functioning households and less babies are coming to confused teenagers.

While there are countless factors for the decline, we here at the DUNER BLOG feel Pop Culture is mainly to blame. In short: Families are not cool anymore. Look no further than prime-time TV. From 1950-1990, most of the top shows were family oriented. During this period, shows like Leave It To Beaver, All In the Family and The Cosby Show dominated the Neilson ratings. Then, in the 1990's, things began to change. Friends, Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory took over, showing a major shift in the American ideal. These days, fewer and fewer parents are role models. Tough cops, C.E.O.'s and Bachelorettes dominate TV today.

Let's combine the CDP's study with another statistic from the last census: Life Expectancy. Today, Americans enjoy the longer lives, clocking in at an average of 78.7 years. With advances in science and healthier diets, we can only expect this number to grow in coming decades. You know what this means: Our country is on a dangerous course. Nations with lots of older people and fewer younger workers don't function well. By the year 2040, there will be fifty million people retirees in America, but no one to take care of them.

Finally, let's insert one more statistic: Public spending on Education. It's down nationwide, as politicians scramble to slash taxes to gain votes. So not only are there fewer children, but they will also be less educated. To be blunt, the future of the USA looks unstable at best. Unfortunately, Americans today are obsessed with spending wildly on cars and computers. They want lower taxes so they can buy even more things. They have little interest in anything other than the present tense. C'mon, America! We need to start looking towards the future. Let's make a bigger, smarter and prosperous future generations.

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