Pennsylvania’s Baby Bust

Is our low birth rate a crisis?

Pennsylvania has one of the lowest birth rates in the United States — the lowest, in fact, for any state outside of New England, the Morning Call reports.

The state’s birthrate was 11 for every 1,000 residents in 2013, according to a report published this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a report prepared last year for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, the state’s age structure is changing. People age 65 and older accounted for 15 percent of the population in 2010. By 2040, that is expected to increase to 23 percent.

The report for the Rural Center, a legislative agency, attributes Pennsylvania’s shift largely to “the aging of the baby boomers and [the state’s] consistently low fertility rate.”

Does that mean the state is destined to get old and stagnant? Not necessarily: “Pennsylvania’s population will actually grow by 1.4 million people, or 11 percent, between 2010 and 2040, when it will have 14.1 million residents.” But that growth won’t be from people having babies — it will primarily be from immigrants settling here.