Jonathan Last–America's Baby Bust: The USA's falling fertility rate is the cause of many problems

For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country’s brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women””a good proxy for the middle class””have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.

The fertility rate is the number of children an average woman bears over the course of her life. The replacement rate is 2.1. If the average woman has more children than that, population grows. Fewer, and it contracts. Today, America’s total fertility rate is 1.93, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; it hasn’t been above the replacement rate in a sustained way since the early 1970s.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family

4 comments on “Jonathan Last–America's Baby Bust: The USA's falling fertility rate is the cause of many problems

  1. Eastern Anglican says:

    Gee, I wonder what happened in the early 70s that might have led to this. Thinking… Thinking… Thinking…

    Oh, maybe it was a little thing called RvW?

  2. Teatime2 says:

    So the author says that if we phase out Social Security and stop women and the common folks from going to college, the reproduction rate will rebound. And he seems to favor all women having six kids. Weird that he doesn’t even mention problems like hookup culture, STDs in young women, low wages, underemployment and lack of insurance/expensive health care

    He obviously isn’t as concerned about fertility rates as he is about a political and social agenda. He says that if everyone had 6 or 7 kids, we would not need the social programs for the elderly. Seriously? How would families with their own 6 kids pay for their parents’ living expenses and high medical bills without Medicare and Social Security? Lest we forget that he also would keep most people out of college and women out of the workplace

    I don’t understand how he can suggest a return to the 1950s, basically, when manufacturing has gone overseas, wages are depressed, the cost of living is high and even basic health care is out of reach for many. How would all of these large, extended families manage on one, non-union salary when the male wage earner likely has no degree? Oh, and there would be no social programs.

  3. Scatcatpdx says:

    Needless to say I am single and childless by choice, So I am I the fault for this so call called coming apocalypse?
    I really getting tired of this talk; first marriage and no babies. I stat to say things change you just going to have to deal with it.

  4. m+ says:

    #2- the author’s solution works if we roll back medical technology to the 1950s.
    I live in an immigrant-rich area and I see lots of big families. Parts of Mexico may have dropped down to replacement levels but somebody needs to tell the families that are crossing the border.