If Russia is dying, what is America doing?
[F]or the first time in a very long time, in 2012 Russia’s birth rate actually exceeded that of the United States. This is, to put it mildly, a significant reversal from the not too distant past when the US had a birth rate that was as much as 75% higher than Russia’s. As you can see, the speed and scale of the convergence is impressive:
The most obvious cause of this reversal is economic:
Russia, and particularly its labor market, rebounded from the financial crisis very quickly. The sorts of metrics which would be a reasonable guide to family formation and births, particularly the unemployment rate and the average real wage, are at historically good levels in Russia. Essentially, Russian wages have never been higher and unemployment has never been lower. Meanwhile, in the United States, wages are stagnant and unemployment is way above its long-term trend. This sort of economic malaise has had a predictably depressive effect on fertility.
Since the time of the czars until a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable that Russia would have better prospects for the future than America. But then, until recently we had better leadership.
Considering that Russia’s government has no plans to compensate for a low birthrate by importing millions of Third World welfare colonists, we may be in for a major shift in the balance of power.
On a tip from Artfldgr.