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Declining Birth Rates - Narrative Intelligence

May 27, 2022Evan Robert
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Birth rates have been on the decline for some time, but some, including Elon Musk, think that the downward trend is "the biggest threat to civilization."

While the U.S. experienced a slight increase in birth rate in 2021, the post-lockdown peak is far outweighed by the national decline that has been prevalent for over a decade.

This EdgeTheory's Narrative Intelligence brief analyzes how U.S. Media is reacting to the birth rate narrative, who's pushing the stories, and the size and scope of the issue in the media. The Washington Examiner is the top single amplifier of this narrative with 6 articles published in the past month.

In the past 30 days, 101 sources have amplified 163 narratives surrounding birth rates. "Median age," "U.S. birth rates," and "fertility rates" are among the top keywords associated with this narrative.

An interesting narrative which overlaps with fertility rates is the national shortage of baby formula. Keywords like "formula shortage," "baby formula," and "wic program" reveal that alongside discussion of birth rates, media outlets are also covering the shortage of formula for babies nationwide.

Many outlets discuss China, encapsulated by the keyword "median age," which highlights the recent findings that if China's birth rate remains on its' current track, the median age in the country will be 50 by the year 2050.

Overall, U.S. Media has been very tame with its coverage of declining birth rates, which is completely opposite to people like Musk's view. To Elon, the issue of declining birth rates globally has huge implications on the future of humankind.

The implications for shrinking birth rates, both in the U.S. and abroad, have yet to be fully realized. This Narrative Intelligence brief will update automatically as this narrative waxes and wanes in the media.

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