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Demography Roundup #7
Canada's birthrate is now the lowest in the Anglosphere + new data on who's downing sugary drinks and some good news about Millennials' saving habits.
#1: In 2022, Canadian births hit a 17-year low.
According to a new report from Statistics Canada, the country recorded 351,679 births in 2022. That's a -5.0% YoY decline and marks the lowest number of births since 2006. Except for a rise between 2020 and 2021, Canadian births have declined every year since 2014.
Canada's total fertility rate fell from 1.44 in 2021 to 1.33 last year. According to UN estimates, it is now the lowest in the English-speaking world. New Zealand’s TFR is 1.76; U.S., 1.66; Australia, 1.60; and U.K. 1.57. Canada’s TFR is also considerably lower than the TFR in many Western European countries like Germany (1.53) and France (1.79) and is now comparable to low-fertility regions like Southern Europe (1.33) and low-fertility countries like Japan (1.30).
This is more evidence that Anglophone countries no longer have exceptional fertility rates compared to other high-income nations. (See "Demography Roundup #1.”) That being said, Anglophone countries continue to experience high rates of immigration that help make up for their decline in births.
#2: Worldwide consumption of sugary drinks is rising.
In 2015, the World Health Organization strongly recommended that adults and children reduce their consumption of added sugar to help cut obesity rates. But according to a new study in Nature Communications, the world has a long way to go. Between 1990 and 2018, worldwide consumption among adults of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), which are the largest source of added sugar in the average diet, rose by +16%. The beverages counted as SSBs were soft drinks, juice drinks with added sugar, energy drinks, punch, lemonade, and aguas frescas.
For individual regions and countries, to be sure, the trends vary. SSB per-capita consumption in high-income countries and Latin America/the Caribbean, while still very high, has mostly fallen in the recent period. Beginning in the mid-2000s, several Latin American countries—including Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Mexico—have implemented a wide variety of policies to reduce SSB consumption, including public health campaigns, warning labels, marketing restrictions, and taxes.
In contrast, a region where overall SSB consumption remains fairly low but has increased hugely is Sub-Saharan Africa, largely due to accelerating urbanization. From 1990 to 2018, consumption shot up by +81.9%. The country that saw the largest increase was Nigeria (an astronomical +821.6%).
Where does the United States rank in per-capita consumption? Among the 25 most populous countries, we are third in the world, downing an average of 4.9 8-oz. servings of SSBs a week. First is Mexico (at 8.9 servings), and second—incredibly enough—is Ethiopia (at 7.1 servings).
#3: Which generation is on track to replace more of their preretirement income with savings? Millennials.
According to a new Vanguard study, by the time early-wave Millennials (ages 37-41) with a U.S. median salary of $42K in 2019 hit retirement age, they will be able to make up 58% of their income through Social Security, 401ks, and other retirement accounts. That percentage is higher than for older generations: Gen Xers (ages 49-53) 52% and Boomers (ages 61-65) 50%. Millennials in higher income percentiles are even better situated relative to older generations.
So why are Millennials more prepared? Vanguard and The Wall Street Journal argue this is because automatic 401k enrollment has become more common in recent years. While many Boomers and Xers delayed saving for retirement in their youth, many Millennials have been signed up from day one. But there are also generational elements at play. Automatic enrollment has become more common because Millennials have welcomed policies that nudge them in favor of saving. (See “Millennials Want Retirement Mandates.”) Their inclination to save for retirement may also be driven in part by the very fact that they’ve seen their own parents struggle to prepare for retirement.
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