How Does a Baby Bust End?

Ross Douthat:

The declining American birthrate is a frequent preoccupation of this column, and over the years that I’ve been writing about the problem it’s only gotten worse, with the apparent Covid-19 baby bust a punctuation mark.

But with the pandemic’s end inspiring various forms of optimism, hopes of faster growth and scientific breakthroughs, it’s worth considering what optimism about the future of fertility might look like. Because if you assume that dynamism and growth are desirable things (not everyone does, but that’s a separate debate), then for the developed world to be something more than just a rich museum, at some point it needs to stop growing ever-older, with a dwindling younger generation struggling in the shadow of societal old age.