Americans Prefer Cats To Kids After The Great Recession

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Mauldin via,

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.

A recession-proof industry

For many people, pets serve as a less expensive and less burdensome substitute for children. You get an idea just how much Americans adore their pets when you walk into PetSmart and see how much people spend on animal food, beds, and toys.

Pets make our life better… but they definitely aren’t free.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), US consumers will spend $62.75 billion on pet food, supplies, and services this year.

Even more interesting is the growth curve in pet spending. It’s been rising at the same time as human birth rates have been falling.

The APPA data shows that pet spending in 2007, before the Great Recession, was $41.2 billion. That means the market has grown over 50% since then, far faster than most other sectors of our sluggish economy.

Furthermore, pet spending has grown steadily every year for more than two decades.

You would think people cut back on pet expenses in recessions, but amazingly, that’s not the case. It’s that caring instinct again. Just as parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own, many pet owners will tighten their own budget in order to provide for their animals.

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We live in an era of rapid change… and only those who see and understand the shifting market, economic, and political trends can make wise investment decisions. Macroeconomic forecaster Patrick Watson spots the trends and spells what they mean every week in the free e-letter, Connecting the Dots. Subscribe now for his seasoned insight into the surprising forces driving global markets.

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LawsofPhysics's picture

So do the asians...

How strange...

bamawatson's picture

podesta prefers kids to pussy

Jim Sampson's picture

Actually, it's not poorer people not having kids, they still are, in record numbers.  It's the Middle class that is cutting back on kids.  So what we are getting is a larger amount of lower IQ people... which is bad... for everyone.

Goatboy's picture

Poor people have lower IQ? How very scientific of you.

Cut the crap.

Yukon Cornholius's picture

American cats would probably score better than American kids on the PISA test.

froze25's picture

Well they have pretty much made it too expensive for people that work for a living to reproduce. That leaves the people that collect welfare and get more money for the more kids they have left reproducing. Yeah that will work for long. MAGA

toady's picture

I'm allergic.... to both! 

Haus-Targaryen's picture

The problem is the middle class is getting squeezed as COL is exploding while wages are stagnant and for many Americans they never recovered from 2007.  

Additionally, too many of them are obsessed with purchasing worthless "Made in PRC" or leasing "Made in Germany" shit that they neither need not require.  Instead they are stuck in a never-ending cycle of consumption that will completely destroy them. 

Hang the money changers.

PT's picture

America prefers cats to kids?  Why cats?  Why not dogs?  Could it be because dogs are confined to the back yard and so can not sneak off and feed themselves?  Even well-fed cats will hunt for sport.  I had a friend who had pet cats.  When he went on holiday he didn't bother asking a friend to look after the cats as he knew the cats could look after themselves.  Can anyone say that about their pet dog?

Could it be that people prefer cats because, potentially, they can survive even if the owners can't afford to feed them?

fockewulf190's picture

Germany has a great financial support system for having and raising kids compared to most countries, regardless though, having kids is still the number one risk of falling into poverty.  Many jobs, for example in the healthcare field, where you would think you can earn a decent living, pay absolute dogshit.  Physical Therapists for example have an average take home pay of about €1400-€1500 A MONTH working full time.  Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Nurses...anybody working in healthcare (and they are mostly women) besides doctors, dentists and vets, get wages that guarentee you will not get ahead and you will retire poor. 

Germany is EXPENSIVE.  The taxes on just about everything is way high.  The bureaucracy is nightmarish.  Point being, for many millions of people working full time and bringing home those kind of wages, they are having a hard enough time just keeping themselves alive in a very modest livelyhood. As a result, few women are having kids.  I´ve been running a therapy practice for close to 15 years.  90% of my therapists are women in their 20s and 30s.  ONE got pregnant during that entire time.  That is pretty fucking shocking.

Those who earn a more respectable income and can afford to have kids are having the statistical 1.4 or so.  It´s not enough to replentish the population stand...which is the untold reason why Merkel opened up the gates to the rabbits.  She´d rather do that than push to reform a system which is hugely detrimental for domestic businesses to grow and allow them to pay their employees a decent wage and give them some life flexability. 

Dave Thomas's picture

If Germany is so EXPENSIVE, how come it's to GO TO destination for North African and Middle Eastern immigrants whom are penniless?

It's like someone hasn't thought this out or something.

wanderer9641's picture

Because welfare pays better than working once you remove the costs associated with maintaing a job.

Nukerella's picture

Muslims don't go there to work. Most are unemployable outside of a kebab shop anyway, and remain that way for 3-4 generations. It's the WELFARE, stupid.

fockewulf190's picture

Money for nothing and infidel chicks for free.

lil dirtball's picture

In 7-9 months, there's going to be a baby boom. As I type, people are fucking for Trump - making America great again.

The most popular name of these babies will be Donna, Donald, Ivan and Ivanka.

It will become chic to baptize these babies by dipping them in Curry.

I shit you not.

NoDebt's picture

I like how you think.

"It will become chic to baptize these babies by dipping them in Curry."

Is that just as a garnish or more of a marinade?


chiquita's picture

Speaking of dipping babies in curry, who says all the people who have dogs and cats instead of babies view them as pets and not "livestock" so to speak?  Times was tough for a lot of folk the last 8 years...   Just sayin...  

Where I live, even the upper middle class in my gated community regularly move out and leave their cats behind to fend for themselves because they view them as throw aways.  It's despicable.   If these were human babies, it would be real hard to just abandon them and move away like that--not without law enforcement raising a big stink.  

Omen IV's picture

Babies named Barack will be aborted

ToSoft4Truth's picture

It's true.  Quick! name two Down's babies that grew to be captains of industry. 

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) ToSoft4Truth Jan 5, 2017 2:38 PM

Donald Trump and Elon Musk

duo's picture

When Dallas planned the replacement for Parkland Hospital it was essentially a maternity ward with a few emergency rooms. Then the number of births dropped dramatically (I assume among illegals). The maternity ward is now half the planned size, but they still deliver 100 babies a day IIRC.

Vooter's picture

Hot and sizzling!

Chuck Walla's picture

Goat boy, you are well named.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) Jim Sampson Jan 5, 2017 1:03 PM

Dogs!  What about dogs?  You do know that DOG is GOD spelled backwards, right?

The difference between Cats and Dogs:

Cats want to know what you are going to do for them.

Dogs want to know what they can do for you.



Yukon Cornholius's picture

Only in English, dingleberry.

And I refer back to PISA tests.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

IQ does correlate with economic outcomes.  Also with health outcomes.

And pets are pretty expensive if you take then to the vet.

chiquita's picture

No shit!  Just spent nearly $1000 to have some necessary dental work done on one of my two inherited cats.  As with humans/all animals, when teeth and gums go bad, it impacts heart and kidneys and then it gets even more expensive.  Would not spring for anything over the top (not that some wouldn't say this wasn't that), but I used to go to a vet that shared space with a veterinary oncologist.  I had some scary conversations with people who said they'd spent more than I was earning a year to save their beloved pets.  I wondered who they were doing this for--their pet or themselves because the stress this put on the animal in that brief live surely was not worth that kind of money.  Actually the bottom line was they were really doing it for the greedy vet who played on their love for the animal.  It's just another racket. 

Mat Cauthon's picture

I call BS!  I went on vacation to Europe one time for 10 days and left my cat alone with a huge bowl of food and plenty of water.  When I came back he was fine and took care of himself.

Couldn't do that with a bloody dog. 

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) The Saint Jan 5, 2017 1:54 PM

Very true. Cats tell you to "fuck off and feed me." Dogs rule.

Carpe Tutti Bastardi's picture

Cats jump on your lap because they like 'warm furniture' !

PT's picture

I gave you the answer above.  Cats can and do sneak off and feed themselves.  Dogs are usually confined to the back yard and can not feed themselves, even if they are smart enough to stalk a rabbit instead of trying to rush it from a mile away.

If you're poor but want a pet, you'll pick the cat simply because you'll understand it still has a good chance of survival even if you can't afford to feed it this week.  Sad to say but most domesticated dogs are not so lucky.  Assuming they still have the skills, they are still limited to what they can find in their own back yard or they easily "fall prey" to the local dog-catcher.

The Gun Is Good's picture

Totally. The middle class foots the bill and carries the burden of hardship for all the poor spawn, too....

CheapBastard's picture

Here's the [extensive] list of Macy's store closings due to Obama's Robust Recovery and 'Change you can believe in' policies:


Is my Macy's store closing?

Macy’s is slated to close 68 stores and cut 10,000 jobs across the U.S. after holiday sales disappointed and the retailer slashed earnings forecasts. So is your local outlet set to close its doors?


Obama "fundmanetally changed Macy's" you migth say.

nuubee's picture

Cat's don't destroy your life in a divorce like fighting over kids will.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

An idea whose time has finally come, again?

J S Bach's picture

This statistic does not apply to any race other than whites.  Coincidence?

chiquita's picture

They also don't ask to borrow the car, cost anything to send to college or disappoint the shit out of you when they don't make anything out of their lives.  However, they do tend to live in your basement (or wherever in your house) and they expect you to feed them and make sure their litter boxes are clean (the worst part).    If you don't learn how to live with them and treat them with consistent kindness and understanding, they can be real problems--see

chunga's picture

I was listening to that in the truck this morning on the fake news station and right after that story they talked about surging employment numbers. It's awesome.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Macy's should get a direct tax break like Carrier.   C'mon, don't you like the Macy's parades? The parades will end if Macy's folds and you know what comes next - a local Parade Tax.



GeezerGeek's picture

Macy's wouldn't have to close any stores if they got into the business of selling pussy, or pussies.

They could use a Trump lookalike for the ads: "Grab some pussy!" Making America Great Again.

Erwin643's picture

Who, you mean John Pedophile-esta?

Consuelo's picture



People Eating Tasty Animals...

CheapBastard's picture

Hillary prefers fetal blood, not pussy blood.

Stan522's picture

I got both... whre does that put me....?

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Stan522 Jan 5, 2017 1:57 PM

Lacking a good pet, a dog?

centerline's picture

Implication:  perpetual growth ponzi schemes coming to an end.

Boomer demographic is the tidal wave for this.

CheapBastard's picture

Implication: moar and moar cheap labor to be imported unless The Trumpmeister slows it down. Ann Coulter cites a study from Wall Street that shows over the past 16 years more then 45 million people are here illegally.