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Conor Sen

Younger Millennials Could Save America's Birthrate

People born in 1985 hit every milestone of adulthood at the worst moment in the U.S. economy. The next cohort is already better off.

Maybe the next wave of American adults can have it all.

Maybe the next wave of American adults can have it all.

Source: DigitalVision, via Getty Images

The data for 2017 is in, and the results are clear: We're still waiting for American birthrates to rebound from the great recession. Nine years into this recovery, it would be easy to figure that if the birthrate hasn't recovered yet, it won't. But it could be several more years before we know whether the U.S. has settled into a new normal of lower birthrates.

The housing market may provide some hope for an eventual rebound, and a theory for how it could happen. Housing relates to the lifecycle of family decision-making. First, perhaps, you have young people getting their educations and settling into careers where they create the financial foundation to have a family. Then, there's coupling up and, for those with the resources and desire to do so, buying a home. Finally, these couples decide whether to have a child, and those who do decide whether to have more children. Even when the economy is not throwing up obstacles, the whole process from beginning college to having a child can take 10 or 15 years.