This is Work in Progress, a newsletter by Derek Thompson about work, technology, and how to solve some of America’s biggest problems.
In the past half century, Americans have had fewer and fewer babies with almost every passing decade; in 2020, the U.S. reported the lowest official fertility rate on record. But last year, statisticians observed a surprising baby bump. Researchers weren’t entirely sure what had happened. Maybe this was random noise. Maybe, like so many pandemic effects, it was a weird one-off phenomenon.