U.S. Census: Where Have All the Children Gone?

Filed under: In The News

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Census figures tell us there are fewer children in the United States -- percentage-wise -- than ever before.

Whew, what a relief.

Remember growing up with all those dire warnings of overpopulation? Well, this ought to help thin the herd, right?

Not so fast. CBS News reports this could be a bad thing. It means there will be fewer and fewer young'ns to take care of the legions of old people and pay for their health care, pensions and the like.

One of the morals of the story is be nice to immigrants.

CBS reports census data also reveals that immigrants make up one in four people younger than 18 -- the fastest-growing segment of America's youth. Remember that in years to come when you are relying on the younger generation to enforce nursing home standards.

If all immigration -- legal and illegal -- magically stopped, CBS reports, America's population would start shrinking by 2048, with fewer young people to change the sheets and fetch our meds.

As it stands, kids make up about 24 percent of the U.S. population -- down from 26 percent in 1990. Experts say that percentage could dip to 23 percent by 2050.

Compare that with 1900 when kids made up 40 percent of the population.

"There are important implications for the future of the U.S. because the increasing costs of providing for an older population may reduce the public resources that go to children," William O'Hare, a senior consultant with the children's advocacy group Annie E. Casey Foundation, tells CBS.

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