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It’s all about age. Sometimes.

September 23, 2013

Slate has an interesting article about the advent of elders and grandparents 30,000 years ago, working off recent research that estimates the age distribution of early populations from teeth samples.

The Japanese homeless are graying.

America may be at the start of a new baby boom, as richer, college-educated women have developed a higher fertility rate than their poorer and less-educated sisters. That reverses the trend for the past century:

It seems that the relationship between fertility and household income has shifted. Increased prosperity used to lead to a decline in the fertility rate as parents did not need children as an insurance policy for their old age; and indeed, the modern child is very expensive to bring up. But now better-off people seem to be having more children; in the US, the fertility rate of wives whose husbands are in the top decile of income is back where it was a century ago.

Of course, any current shift in fertility will take years to have much economic impact. In the meantime, the US population is aging. And that might limit the impact of Federal Reserve policy relative to times past, because the old are less sensitive to interest rate changes, according to an IMF working paper (pdf).

The yawl Dorade, designed by Olin Stephens and shown in the photo above, won this year’s Transpac. Her first Transpac win was in 1931, and her second in 1936. Not bad for an 83 year-old boat.

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