It’s a mystery

What we have here is a failure of basic logic:

U.S. fertility is not recovering from the financial crisis — and demographers aren’t sure why. The fertility rate fell to a record low 62.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2013, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

The total number of births, at 3.96 million, inched up by a mere 4,000 from 2012, the first increase since the financial crisis. But the total fertility rate, or TFR, the average number of children a woman would have during her child-bearing years, fell to just 1.86, the lowest rate in 27 years. TFR is considered the best metric of fertility. A TFR of 2.1 represents a stable population, with children replacing parents as they die off.

Demographers expected the fertility rate to fall during recession, as financially strapped families put off childbearing. But what has surprised some demographers is both the depth of the decline and the fact that fertility has continued to drop even over the course of the country’s five years of slow but steady recovery. The rate has fallen steadily each year since 2007, when it stood at 2.1 percent.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and point out that since it is known that the economic statistics are massaged and seasonally-corrected and smoothed and retrofitted to the point of literal fiction (try to find the 2001 recession in the GDP statistics now), the more reasonable conclusion is that rather than an inexplicable change in historically observed human behavioral patterns, the U.S. economy has simply not been in the slow, but steady recovery reported by the relevant government agencies. Occam’s Razor indicates that the economy is not in a recovery, but an ongoing six-year depression, and as it happens, this can not only be seen in the falling fertility rates, but also in statistics that are not so easily manipulated as GDP, U3, and CPI-U.