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In The Realm Of The Census


In Business This Week

IN THE REALM OF THE CENSUS

Call it the boomlet bustlet. The surge in births brought on by the baby boomers' delayed discovery of procreation has peaked and is waning fast. After spiking to a post-baby-boom record of 4.16 million in 1990, the number of births could fall below 4 million this year, some demographers figure. And the Census Bureau predicts a turn-of-the-century tyke trough of 3.93 million.

That prospect has baby- products companies scrambling to squeeze more bucks from each birth. Gerber Products, for one, is targeting toddlers with Gerber Graduates, bite-size lumps of vegetables and meat for the one-to-three set. Century Products has a new infant seat that can move from the car to the stroller--the better to let sleeping babies lie.

What marketers come up with next depends on whether the trend toward later childbearing continues. Women in their 30s produced 18.7% of all firstborns in 1991, a record for that age group. But an increase in teenage childbearing pulled down the median age of all first-time mothers. The question now: How long will Generation Xers hold off on their family formation?Mike McNamee


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