NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 17: Mi-Ki dog Mitsu @mitsuthemiki poses for photos at the Max-Bone Santa Event NYC on December 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Max-Bone)

More and more Americans seem to prefer pets to children… and the resulting demographic trend has massive economic and investment implications.

The numbers are startling and affect everyone—whether you’re a parent, a pet owner, neither, or both. It’s also an investment opportunity you might try in 2017.

4 million missing babies

While the memories of the Great Recession may be fading, the effects are still very much with us. Among other places, the impact shows up in demographic data.

Last summer, I ran across some fascinating analysis by University of New Hampshire sociologist Kenneth M. Johnson. He found that US fertility levels dropped sharply beginning in 2008 and have yet to recover.

All those babies we didn’t have add up to a big number.

Professor Johnson calculated that if births had continued at the pre-recession rate, Americans would have had 3.4 million additional babies in 2008–2015.

He found no evidence to suggest that this trend changed in 2016, so the total is likely near 4 million by now.

This happened even though the number of women of childbearing age actually increased during this period.

It’s no mystery why

People who are experiencing economic and financial difficulty are less likely to have children.

The missing babies have a macroeconomic effect. All those jobs that would have been created in hospital maternity wards and eventually day care centers, kindergartens, and public schools aren’t materializing.

And then there’s the billions of dollars that aren’t spent on baby food, diapers, and clothes. Plus, sometime around 2025, we may start noticing fewer new workers entering the labor force.

This plunge of birthrates is not a new phenomenon, by the way. Contrary to what many people believe, the developed world has been on the fast track to population decline since at least the 1970s—a trend visible in many countries, from Germany to Japan.

However, even without children, the primal human urge to care and nurture has to find an outlet. Which is where our furry friends come in.

This article was sourced from http://httpnews.info