A survey by Made in the USA Surrogacy found that couples in Hawaiʻi would like to have 1.6 children, which is 0.3 lower than the current average of 1.96.
While this discrepancy might seem minimal, it signifies a considerable decline when scaled to the state population level, according to a press release from the surrogate agency based in California.
High inflation has long been identified as a deterrent to couples having more children. The more expensive the cost of living, the less likely people will want more children who they will need to financially support. And although inflation is continuing to ease, a broad range of goods and services is 3% more than a year ago.
While a common assumption is that a falling population will be better as it might lead to reduced demand for scarce resources, economists warn that America could face multiple economic challenges if couples here choose to have less children, the press release said.
A falling population results in a smaller labor force, which can stifle economic growth, cause labor shortages, particularly in labor-intensive sectors, and reduce overall consumer demand.
Additionally, an aging demographic is often associated with a declining population, leading to increased healthcare and pension costs, straining public finances. It may also reduce the tax base, making it difficult for the government to maintain public services and infrastructure.
Decreased demand for housing also could lead to falling property values. Education and innovation also might suffer due to less demand for educational services.
This is not a problem exclusive to the United States. South Korea, a country with one of the lowest fertility rates, is offering new parents cheaper mortgage rates (at 1 to 3% lower than commercial banks) and other incentives to encourage them to have children.
However, environmental benefits might emerge through reduced strain on resources and lower carbon emissions. Various factors can influence these effects, including immigration policies, the speed of population decrease, government policies, technological advancements and the state’s economic structure.
The survey data from 3,000 childless couples found that in 43 of the 50 states, the couples intend on having less children than the current state average. Only couples from Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah bucked the trend.