This chapter characterizes the socioeconomic effects of changing demographics. Fertility rates may be declining slowly over the years because women move into careers and children become more expensive. Women's college enrollment and labor force participation rates must certainly have been on a slow upward trend since WWII. There are strong effects of cohort size on the wage structure at all ages. Marriage and fertility rates drop sharply, along with aggregate consumption demand in an economy bereft of the needed stimulus provided by young adults setting up new households on their own. The periods of decline in the proportion aged 15–24 coincide with eras of slow economic growth, while the periods prior to 1929, between 1954 and 1974, and since 1994 have all been characterized by growth in both spheres. The monetary and fiscal policies and controls have played a significant role in buffering shocks in recent years.
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