Decreasing Birth rates

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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Decreasing Birth rates

In past years everyone was concerned about over-population, but now things are starting to turn the other way. Birth rates are decreasing not only in the U.S. but in other countries also. Especially now when they are starting to gear more and more social programs that count on younger workers supporting the aging population, are we going to be in trouble in a few years when we have a declining population? Is this the time to be putting so much emphasis on free birth control?

The U.S. fertility rate fell to another record low in 2012, with 63.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's down slightly from the previous low of 63.2 in 2011.

It marked the fifth year in a row the U.S. birth rate has declined, and the lowest rate on record since the government started tracking the fertility rate in 1909. In 2007, the rate was 69.3.

Falling birth rates can be considered a challenge to future economic growth and the labor pool.
"If there are fewer younger people in the United States, there may be a shortage of young workers to enter the labor force in 18 to 20 years," said University of New Hampshire demographer Kenneth Johnson. "A downturn in the birth rate affects the whole economy."

It takes 2.1 children per woman for a given generation to replace itself, and U.S. births have been below replacement level since 2007.

As of last year, a separate CDC analysis shows an American woman will give birth to an average of 1.88 children over her lifetime, also a record low.

The birth rate has largely been declining since the post-World War II baby boom, but that fall accelerated during the Great Recession, as high unemployment derailed many young people's plans to move out and start families.
About 22% of 18-to-34-year-olds surveyed by the Pew Research Center in December 2011 said they had postponed having a baby because of economic conditions.

Even in 2012 -- three years after the recession officially ended -- 36% of Millennials ages 18 to 31 still lived at home with their parents, according to Pew analysis of U.S. Census data.

But here's the good news: The declines have slowed and demographers believe the birth rate may level off going forward.

"The decline in fertility rates, which had been dramatic, is stabilizing," Johnson said.
Demographic Intelligence, a firm that forecasts birth rates for clients like Disney (DIS, Fortune 500), Fisher-Price, Gerber and Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500), predicts the birth rate will rise in 2013, to 1.9 children per woman.
"We think that this fertility decline is now over. As the economy rebounds and women have the children they postponed immediately after the Great Recession, we are seeing an uptick in U.S fertility," Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, said in a statement.

To be sure, birth rates are a lagging economic indicator, reflecting decisions made at least nine months earlier.
"In the 2012 data, you're seeing what women were thinking about in 2011," Johnson said. "If the economy were to be picking up now, you're not seeing that in the birth patterns yet. It will be another year until you'll see the effect of that."

While overall fertility rates have fallen, trends vary by age, race and ethnicity.
For example, the fertility rate decreased among teenagers and women in their 20s, but rose slightly among those over age 30.

It held steady for white women, fell among blacks and Hispanics, and rose among Asians and Pacific Islanders last year.
Overall, about 3.95 million babies were born in 2012.

U.S birth rate falls to record low - Sep. 6, 2013

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

We should probably just go ahead and force all women of childbearing age to have some babies a la the Handmaid's Tale.

(Me = not worried about under population.)

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

It is a very real problem in Japan. The problem is once births go below replacement rate it starts a downward spiral that isn't always easy to reverse.

If you want to see what happens to a country once it hurls itself off the demographic cliff, look at Japan, with a fertility rate of 1.3. In the 1980s, everyone assumed the Japanese were on a path to owning the world. But the country's robust economic facade concealed a crumbling demographic structure.

The Japanese fertility rate began dipping beneath the replacement rate in 1960 for a number of complicated reasons (including a postwar push by the West to lower Japan's fertility rate, the soaring cost of having children and an overall decline in the marriage rate). By the 1980s, it was already clear that the country would eventually undergo a population contraction. In 1984, demographer Naohiro Ogawa warned that, "Owing to a decrease in the growth rate of the labor force…Japan's economy is likely to slow down." He predicted annual growth rates of 1% or even 0% in the first quarter of the 2000s.

From 1950 to 1973, Japan's total-factor productivity—a good measure of economic dynamism—increased by an average of 5.4% per year. From 1990 to 2006, it increased by just 0.63% per year. Since 1991, Japan's rate of GDP growth has exceeded 2.5% in only four years; its annual rate of growth has averaged 1.03%.

Because of its dismal fertility rate, Japan's population peaked in 2008; it has already shrunk by a million since then. Last year, for the first time, the Japanese bought more adult diapers than diapers for babies, and more than half the country was categorized as "depopulated marginal land." At the current fertility rate, by 2100 Japan's population will be less than half what it is now.

Can we keep the U.S. from becoming Japan? We have some advantages that the Japanese lack, beginning with a welcoming attitude toward immigration and robust religious faith, both of which buoy fertility. But in the long run, the answer is, probably not.

Conservatives like to think that if we could just provide the right tax incentives for childbearing, then Americans might go back to having children the way they did 40 years ago. Liberals like to think that if we would just be more like France—offer state-run day care and other programs so women wouldn't have to choose between working and motherhood—it would solve the problem. But the evidence suggests that neither path offers more than marginal gains. France, for example, hasn't been able to stay at the replacement rate, even with all its day-care spending.

America's Baby Bust - WSJ.com

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

Time for immigration! Perfect solution- it helps with underpopulation (developed world) and overpopulation (developing world)! Eazy peezy.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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"blather" wrote:

Time for immigration! Perfect solution- it helps with underpopulation (developed world) and overpopulation (developing world)! Eazy peezy.

Right. Doesn't sound that easy.

Relying on immigration to prop up our fertility rate also presents several problems, the most important of which is that it's unlikely to last. Historically, countries with fertility rates below replacement level start to face their own labor shortages, and they send fewer people abroad. In Latin America, the rates of fertility decline are even more extreme than in the U.S. Many countries in South America are already below replacement level, and they send very few immigrants our way. And every other country in Central and South America is on a steep dive toward the replacement line.

That is what's happened in Mexico. In 1970, the Mexican fertility rate was 6.72. Today, it's just at replacement, a drop of 72% in 40 years. Mexico used to send us several hundred thousand immigrants a year. For the last three years, there has been a net immigration of zero. Some of this decrease is probably related to the recent recession, but much of it is likely the result of a structural shift.

As for the Hispanic immigrants who are already here, we can't count on their demographic help forever. They've been doing the heavy lifting for a long time: While the nation as a whole has a fertility rate of 1.93, the Hispanic-American fertility rate is 2.35. But recent data from the Pew Center suggest that the fertility rate for Hispanic immigrants is falling at an incredible rate. To take just one example, in the three years between 2007 and 2010, the birthrate for Mexican-born Americans dropped by an astonishing 23%.

In the face of this decline, the only thing that will preserve America's place in the world is if all Americans—Democrats, Republicans, Hispanics, blacks, whites, Jews, Christians and atheists—decide to have more babies.

America's Baby Bust - WSJ.com

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

So but what is the solution? Making women have more babies whether they want them or are prepared to support them? Gross.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

So but what is the solution? Making women have more babies whether they want them or are prepared to support them? Gross.

No one is saying that, but right now we are doing everything possible to discourage people from having babies, when it sounds like the opposite should be true.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

No one is saying that, but right now we are doing everything possible to discourage people from having babies, when it sounds like the opposite should be true.

No we're not. We're doing everything we can to make sure that people who don't want to have babies can prevent pregnancy. Taking that away doesn't make people want babies, it just means more unwanted pregnancies.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

No we're not. We're doing everything we can to make sure that people who don't want to have babies can prevent pregnancy. Taking that away doesn't make people want babies, it just means more unwanted pregnancies.

Forcing everyone in the U.S. to pay for birth control whether they want it or not and even forcing companies that have religious objections to purchase birth control is more than just giving people a choice. Everyone already had a choice to get birth control already, it just wasn't provided by the government.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Forcing everyone in the U.S. to pay for birth control whether they want it or not and even forcing companies that have religious objections to purchase birth control is more than just giving people a choice. Everyone already had a choice to get birth control already, it just wasn't provided by the government.

I don't see how not "forcing everyone in the US to pay for birth control" changes the birth rate, unless you are hoping that some people can no longer afford birth control since it isn't covered by insurance, in which case you are trying to force them to have babies they don't want.

Unless you think that people are planning their families around the single premise of "birth control is free, so I'm taking it even though I don't actually want it!" I realize that is how I deal with food samples at Costco, but I would hope people put more thought into their family planning and choose to take birth control because they don't want children at that time, rather than just "it's free!"

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I don't see how not "forcing everyone in the US to pay for birth control" changes the birth rate, unless you are hoping that some people can no longer afford birth control since it isn't covered by insurance, in which case you are trying to force them to have babies they don't want.

Unless you think that people are planning their families around the single premise of "birth control is free, so I'm taking it even though I don't actually want it!" I realize that is how I deal with food samples at Costco, but I would hope people put more thought into their family planning and choose to take birth control because they don't want children at that time, rather than just "it's free!"

It's the whole attitude that limiting the number of children you have is a good thing. The government is ENCOURAGING people to not have children by not only providing free birth control, but forcing people to pay for it even if they don't need it or want it. Why should a 60 year old woman be forced to pay for a policy with free birth control? Society in general also discourages people from having a large family. I mean look how much some people vilify the Duggars for having lots of children. Plus that do get pregnant are encouraged to have abortions instead of adopting out their babies.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

It's the whole attitude that limiting the number of children you have is a good thing. The government is ENCOURAGING people to not have children by not only providing free birth control, but forcing people to pay for it even if they don't need it or want it. Why should a 60 year old woman be forced to pay for a policy with free birth control? Society in general also discourages people from having a large family. I mean look how much some people vilify the Duggars for having lots of children. Plus that do get pregnant are encouraged to have abortions instead of adopting out their babies.

Limiting the number of children you have IS a good thing. People should not have more children than they have the resources (time, money, emotional, et cetera) to provide for. I would think as a Conservative you would agree with that.

If you are looking for less abortions, limiting access to birth control is your worst bet.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Limiting the number of children you have IS a good thing. People should not have more children than they have the resources (time, money, emotional, et cetera) to provide for. I would think as a Conservative you would agree with that.

If you are looking for less abortions, limiting access to birth control is your worst bet.

Who said anything about limiting access? Not providing something for free is not limiting access.

Are we limiting access to food since we don't give everyone free food?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Who said anything about limiting access? Not providing something for free is not limiting access.

Are we limiting access to food since we don't give everyone free food?

If you're tying birth control to wanting to increase the birth rate, I assume that means that you are working under the assumption that if the government didn't provide birth control, there would be more babies.

And yes, for some people not providing funding means that they wouldn't have access to it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

I do think there are some parts of the world where this is a real problem. I do not think the USA or Canada are ones that need to be overly worried about it though.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

I don't have time for debate right now just going to say that ITA with Alissa. I'm not at all worried by the declining population and would argue that it's actually probably a very good thing in most ways once you look beyond rampant consumerism.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I do not think limiting the number is of any relevance what so ever.. teaching how to love and care for others is of relevance.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

"Rivergallery" wrote:

I do not think limiting the number is of any relevance what so ever.. teaching how to love and care for others is of relevance.

I completely agree. Especially when those people are different from you. So easy to love and care for those is easy, but teaching respect for people who are different is so much more important.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

The Duggar's are trying to have their 2038293 baby. Don't worry.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Yeah I'm not worried. I don't care if you want 2 kids, 8 kids or no kids.

I don't think allowing generic birth control pills to be covered at no cost is really causing people who WANT large families to say ..."hey let's not have more kids like we want and planned...This s*it is free"