Demographics

Immigrants Helped Bump Germany’s Fertility Rate to Its Highest in 33 Years

Quartz: “In May 2015, Germany’s five-year birthrate had plunged to the lowest in the world, edging Japan out of the bottom slot. But things may be looking up slightly on the baby front, according to the latest figures from the German federal statistics office.”

“The rising rate is some cause for celebration, but even the influx of migrants—which has already slowed considerably since the Balkan route closed and Turkey agreed to stop refugees from coming to Germany—may not be enough to stop Germany’s dangerous population decline. Demographers say the rate needs to be at 2 births per woman for a population to maintain itself.”

Millennials Aren’t Big Spenders or Risk-Takers, and That’s Going to Reshape the Economy

Los Angeles Times: “As they emerge this year as the United States’ largest demographic group — some 75 million strong — millennials are taking up the mantle as the most impactful generation since the baby boomers.”

“For starters, millennials are not big spenders, at least not in the traditional sense… Instead of material wealth, millennials show off through their travels, hobbies and even meals, which get photographed and posted on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.”

“Another key difference with their predecessors, particularly Generation X, is that millennials are not big risk takers. That seems especially true when it comes to starting businesses.”

There’s a Devastatingly Simple Explanation for America’s Economic Mess

Washington Post: “According to provocative new research from Fed economists, there might be a simple explanation for the slow growth — and there might not have been much policymakers could have done about it. If the new explanation is true, it might also explain why efforts to boost economic growth — including trillions of dollars in monetary stimulus and near-zero interest rates — haven’t worked that well.”

“In a new paper, the Fed economists argue that America’s slow economic growth and low interest rates might have been largely inevitable — and they might not have much to do with the 2008 financial crisis at all. Their main culprit: demographics.”

Americans Strongly Favor Expanding Solar Power

Pew Research Center: “As the solar energy industry gears up to add more electricity-generating capacity than any other source this year, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that almost nine-in-ten U.S. adults (89%) favor expanding use of solar power, while only 9% oppose it. That sentiment bridges the partisan divide, with large majorities from across the political spectrum favoring more use of this alternative source.”

How Focusing on Geographic Disparity Can Mitigate the Negative Effects of Globalization

Jean Pisani-Ferry: ” In many countries, where you live tends to be an accurate predictor of what or whom you are voting for.”

“Regional or local voting patterns are as old as democracy. What is new is a growing correlation of spatial, social, and political polarization that is turning fellow citizens into near-strangers… Economic shocks tend to exacerbate this political divide. Those who happen to live and work in traditional manufacturing districts caught in the turmoil of globalization are multiple losers: their job, their housing wealth, and the fortunes of their children and relatives are all highly correlated.”

“What public policy must do is ensure that economic agglomeration does not threaten equality of opportunity. Governments cannot decide where companies locate; but it is their responsibility to ensure that, although where you live affects your income, where you were born does not determine your future. In other words, public policy has a major responsibility in limiting the correlation between geography and social mobility.”

Ahead of Debates, Many Voters Don’t Know Much About Where Trump, Clinton Stand on Major Issues

Pew Research Center: “The first presidential debate Monday night offers Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton an opportunity to explain their positions on important issues facing the country. Two months after the party conventions, only about half of voters (48%) say they know “a lot” about where Clinton stands on important issues, while even fewer (41%) say this about Trump.”

Americans Appear Willing to Pay for a Carbon Tax Policy

New York Times: “The stumbling block in Congress for confronting climate change has perpetually been the economic challenge. There has been little support for paying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“But now, there is some evidence of a quiet undercurrent of support for a carbon policy, whether it be a tax, cap-and-trade or regulations.”

“The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) — which, in full disclosure, I direct — and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released a poll Wednesday on how Americans feel about various issues related to climate and energy.”

GOP Losing Ground as Better Party to Handle Foreign Threats

Gallup: “More Americans say the Republican Party will do a better job than the Democratic Party of protecting the country from foreign threats, but the gap between the parties has narrowed in the last year. The Republicans now lead by seven percentage points, 47% to 40%, down from their 16-point lead a year ago (52% to 36%).”

“Americans, by a narrow 46% to 43% margin, say the Republican Party would do a better job than the Democratic Party of keeping the country prosperous.”

For Every 10 U.S. Adults, Six Vote and Four Don’t. What Separates Them?

An interesting report from the New York Times: “For Every 10 U.S. Adults, Six Vote and Four Don’t. What Separates Them?”

“But what distinguishes voters from nonvoters can be only partly explained by demographics. Experts say individuals tend to be motivated by a combination of their priorities, their group culture, how competitive their state is, and how easy or hard it is to vote.”

“At the individual level, education and income are still two of the strongest predictors of whether someone will turn out at the polls.”