HC Statistics

2018 Demographic Trends

Continuing my series highlighting key trends from 2018, I summarize a post from Aviva Rutkin of The Conversation identifying key demographic trends in 2018. These include:

  1. Decreased U.S. life expectancy. For the third year in a row, life expectancy fell in the U.S. The reason for the increase? Increased mortality rates among working age adults due to overdoses from opioids and other substances, as well as increased mortality due to cirrhosis, suicide and homicide.
  2. Fertility declines.  The national fertility rate fell by 2 percent, to 1.76 children per women in their lifetime. This fertility rate is the lowest in 30 years. According to the CIA World Factbook, the U.S. is 143 out of 224 countries in fertility; Singapore (0.83), Taiwain (1.13), Hong Kong (1.19), Puerto Rico (1.22), and South Korea (1.26) have the lowest fertility, while Niger (6.49), Angola (6.16), Mali (6.01), Burundi (5.99) and Somalia (5.80) have the highest fertility rates.
  3. Americans are getting old. While it’s true at an individual level everyone gets old, as a society America is greying. The average age in the U.S. has increased from from 28 years old in 1970 to 38 in 2016. Again citing the CIA World Factbook, the oldest large countries are Japan (47.3), Germany (47.1), and Italy (45.5); the youngest Niger (15.4), Mali (15.8), and Uganda (15.8). For comparison, Canada is even older than the US (average age 42.2), whereas Mexico is younger (28.3).
  4. The end of rural America. Clearly an overstatement, but we do see a dramatic long-run transition of individuals moving from rural ares to urban and suburban areas. Whereas 94% of individuals lived in rural areas in 1800, this was only 60% by 1900 and 19% by 2010.

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