Connecting the Dots: Women, Workforce and Immigration 

Eddie Aldrete, Senior Vice President, International Bank of Commerce in San Antonio, spoke about demographics and their effect on the workforce and surrounding culture at the March luncheon meeting of the Women’s Policy Forum.

Aldrete began his presentation on demographics and disruption by saying he wanted to focus on the facts and take emotion out of the discussion.  “In the real world, we look for real solutions,” he said.  Demographics affect consumer behavior, patterns and trends and that is where disruption happens.

Using his own family as an example, Aldrete pointed out the lowering of population replacement in the United States, saying that his parents were both 1 of 11 siblings, he and his wife were both 1 of 5 siblings, but now he and his wife have 3 children. This decline in fertility rates is being felt not only in the United States, but in most of the world.

With fertility rates falling, countries are now beginning to face populations in decline.  The replacement level of fertility rates is 2.1, and the United States currently shows a population replacement rate of 1.87.  In fact, he said 97% of the world’s population now lives in countries where the fertility rate is falling. Falling fertility rates cause a disruption in economic trends and consumer behavior.  Aldrete used the diaper industry as an example, where in Japan, with a low 1.43 fertility rate, adult diapers now outsell baby diapers.

The changing face of America impacts the economic, social, cultural and political fabric of the United States. In Texas, white (non-Hispanic) populations peak between 55-60 years of age.  The Hispanic population in Texas is much younger, peaking from birth to 15 years.  This points to a growing need to develop an educated workforce as only 11.6% of Texas Hispanic populations ages 25 and older currently have bachelor, professional or graduate degrees. 

“The reality is we’re running out of people in this country,” Aldrete said. He said some companies are making up for this loss of human capital by relying on more automation. But he added that no country or company is based on decline.  Our choice is to create additional human capital through increasing fertility rates or through smart immigration policies.

Books Referenced in Aldrete's presentation:

What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster by Jonathan V. Last

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray

The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die by Niall Ferguson

The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones

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WOMEN’S POLICY FORUM   |      P.O. Box 11246   Fort Worth, Texas 76110