The latest census data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation reveals that the child population in America has declined, with 1.1 million fewer children counted in the 2020 Census compared to the all-time high recorded in 2010. This trend is expected to impact the job market and education in the coming years, according to demographer and study co-author Bill O’Hare.
The report shows a decrease in the number of children in 27 states and Puerto Rico. Baltimore City saw a 15% decline in child population, placing it among the top 10 cities with the most significant decrease in child population. Meanwhile, Maryland saw a 1% increase in child population over the decade.
O’Hare explains that as smaller birth cohorts replace older children, entry-level workers are going to decrease, making it harder for employers to find the kind of people they need for jobs. This demographic reality will impact the workforce in the coming years.
Maximizing the educational outcome for each child will be crucial in ensuring that the nation has enough skilled workers, the study authors point out. The report reveals that the number of children enrolled from preschool through high school fell by 2.6 million between 2010 and 2020.
O’Hare suggests that with fewer children being born, investing more money for each child could be a feasible solution. “As the number of children decreases, it’s feasible to say we can spend more money for each child – because the amount of money stays the same, the number of children goes down, the average expenditure per child goes up. That’s one way of looking at it – that it may be good for children, because now we can invest more in each child,” he said.
However, he also warns that as the number of households with children decreases, the political support for maintaining the current level of public investment in education may also decline. The educational system is at a crossroads, and it is vital to make strategic decisions that will benefit the future of the nation.
The decline in child population has been more pronounced in the last two years, according to O’Hare. He emphasized that this trend will have ripple effects on various aspects of society, from the job market to education. It is crucial to address these challenges strategically and urgently to ensure the country’s future is secure.
“Children are our future, and if we don’t invest in them, we won’t have the workers we need to keep the country going. We need to make sure that we’re investing in children’s education, health, and well-being,” O’Hare said.
The report highlights the need to prioritize the education and well-being of children, especially in communities with declining child populations. By doing so, the country can ensure that it has enough skilled workers to sustain its economy and maintain its global competitiveness.
The decline in child population in the US is a demographic reality that will have ripple effects on the job market and education. Investing in each child’s education and well-being is crucial to maximize their potential and ensure the country’s future prosperity. The educational system is at a crossroads, and strategic decisions need to be made to address these challenges effectively.