Despite what my Facebook friend feed may be implying lately, California as a whole is not bursting at the seams with cute drooly babies. In fact, the Golden State is having a population crisis, at least by American standards. According to a new report from the University of Southern California, the state is making a "historic transition": California's fertility rate has dropped to 1.94 children per woman, below the 2.1 rate that replaces and grows the population and the economy. The U.S. birthrate was 2.06 children last year. Demographers are calling the drop, which has affected all racial and ethnic groups, "unprecedented" (and "European").
"Kids are no longer overrunning us. Now they're in short supply," demographer Dowell Myers told the San Jose Mercury News. "It changes the priorities for the state."
Post-baby-boom, California had no population worries. In 1970, kids accounted for a third of the state's population. Now they're projected to make up one-fifth by 2030.
The Wall Street Journal is particularly hysterical about what a lower population might mean for California's economic growth.
"Unless the birthrate picks up, we are going to need more immigrants. If neither happens, we are going to have less growth," said [Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy]. The report wasn't optimistic, saying that "with migration greatly reduced…outsiders are much less likely to come to the rescue."