Skip to comments.What is the Cause of Low Birth Rates?
Posted on 06/01/2007 11:27:39 PM PDT by Sleeping Beauty
What causes low birth rates? I have debated this issue at some length with blogger Conservative Swede. Among the reasons frequently cited are the welfare state, feminism and secularism. However, if you look closely at the statistics from various countries, the picture gets quite complex, and there doesnt appear to be an automatic correlation between low birth rates and any one of these factors.
The United States has the highest birth rates in the West, but this is largely due to ethnic minorities. If you compare white Americans to white Europeans, the American birth rate is somewhat higher than those of the Scandinavian nanny states, but still lower than replacement level. Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden do have elaborate welfare states, high degrees of feminism and are not very religious, yet have some of the highest birth rates in the Western world (though still below replacement level.) They are certainly much higher than those in Catholic Poland, perhaps the most conservative religious country in Europe. And they are much higher than those of South Korea, which has more traditional sex roles and where Christianity is booming these days.
The gap between the Western world and the Islamic world in birth rates is clearly caused by religious factors, but the differences between industrialized nations are far more difficult to explain. If the cause is not welfarism, feminism or secularism, then what is it?
1. Pay people to have children. Offer government support for children. Pay for their food and health care.
2. Get rid of Social Security so that people are forced to have children to take care of them when they are too old to work.
What do you think? Does it matter?
Well, first, you have to take your pants off,...then,......
My wife and I have six kids and we frquently hear the “you know what causes that, don’t you” line. (We had suspicions that required further testing to verify.
From this headline, I have determined that it’s everyone else who doesn’t know “what causes that.”
Well, it’s “The Pill” ... birth control. I.e. the explanation is technological. This was widely understood and commented on when “The Pill” was first introduced, but once the radical and farreaching ramifications were realized in fact, they were no longer remarkable.
If current rates continue, it is estimated that 35% of all women of reproductive age in America today will have had an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45.
- Guttmacher Institute. State Facts About Abortion. 2003. -
I was just thinking about “lost knowledge” regarding how things really were in the past.
It wasn’t until after the pill became common that for the first time, I heard someone react negatively to the announcement that a woman was having a baby. Prior to that day, every baby announcement was met with celebration.
Once upon a time, children were relied upon as a workforce by their parents. You know-— farm hands and coal miners.
Since we have moved away from an agrarian and industrial culture, the need to have children has diminished. Children are no longer a resource, they are a liability.
For cultures and societies that still believe children are a resource, birth rates are higher. Where they are a liability or a novelty, the birth rates are lower.
If you paid people to have children (welfare already does this, AFAIK) you get a higher percentage of poor people having children (IE, they are now a resource (or an asset) that monies can be generated from). However, these children will essentially be wards of the state until they are eighteen.
Have a good look around you. There is a reason abortion clinics are big business. As a society, we no longer value children because they no longer needed for our own financial survival. Therefore, in the eyes of some, they are nothing more than an eighteen year commitment (the humanity of the fetus is either ignored or irrelevant).
As far as human nature is concerned, ALWAYS filter out altruism. Humanity does not function like that.
Most women now work. This is the single main reason not to have kids. They can work more and get more stuff and they do until they start to get older.
At 30 or so they start to think it not all that much fun to work all the time and maybe a kid might be nice.
Then they have to find a man who is worth a poop. This may takes 5 years because most men these days just want the milk but no cow, so now she is 35 years old and having their first child. This is too late to have a big family so they just have 1 or 2.
We really need to just state the fact that we need more people to have large families. (If you said this in any of the schools today they would flip out but abortion is OK to talk about) In our PC world it looks like we can never say or do what is best for our country so we just import our next generation from Mexico like cheep China made toys.
It’s sad really.
White American fertility is bimodal. The aggregate is below replacement level (about 1.8 cpw ), but when you separate conservatives and liberals you get quite a different picture... liberals 1.44 (rapid extinction!), conservatives 2.08 (replacement). In other words, it's the white liberals who are killing themselves off (and good riddance). But we conservatives are not going anywhere.
There was no breakdown of types within conservatism; I'd hazard a guess that religious conservatives are well above 2.0.
True so far...
This may takes 5 years because most men these days just want the milk but no cow
Due to women's choices, most men are now forced to wait past 30 to get married. Even those men who start out committed to staying virgins til marriage (and, actually, it's a higher % than women nowadays), find it awfully hard to hold out that long.
Of course, sex is easy to get. Those hot 20-something career women who won't marry, or have kids, or date an oldfashioned guy who wants those things, are perfectly willing to "put out". In other words, it's a lot easier for a man to get laid, than to get married --even if marriage is what he really wants. Free milk everywhere, but if his ethics require him to buy the cow first, nobody will sell him one!
I speak from experience. Despite some very attractive offers, I declined all opporunities to forfeit my virginity until at 38 I finally found a wife. That extended span of celibacy did lasting damage to my psyche. What's important to note, is that I was willing to marry at 18 or 19, but absolutely no women were in that mindset when I was that age. They wanted to date/fornicate with so-called "cool" guys, and a marriage minded anachronism like me was anathema to them.
I think the biggest issue is that it costs ALOT of money to raise children. I guess they think that thousand dollar per child tax credit is enough to raise the child for a year. We have three and will have one more if God allows us to, but still they are quite expensive even if you just factor in regular living expenses without the frills. I am definitely not saying that the government should do more, but just putting the facts on the table.
My mother said this once(I’m paraphrasing): If I were a man today, I would never get married. It’s not worth it these days for a man to get married. What do women have to offer? They can’t cook. They refuse to clean. They don’t wan’t kids. Their income is inferior to men’s yet they insist on careers. They don’t respect men. They expect to be coddled and when they aren’t they demand a divorce for which they need no reason. Then they take his money. Only a fool would marry a woman these days.
I declined all opporunities to forfeit my virginity until at 38 I finally found a wife.
The thing is you are not alone in this. I went to a wedding of a high school friend who both waited to have sex until marriage and they are both 38. Obviously they could have lied to me about that, but I don’t know why they would. I was a bit luckier to find my wife and marry her at 23, but did not have children until 28 almost 29 (both of us). I know that I am glad that we waited to have children (we have 3 currently) because even though everyone is yelling for more children on this site. You still MUST be responsible and ready both emotionally and financially. It does astond me when people say “don’t worry about the money aspect. Just have children to save our Country.” Ridiculous comment if you ask me.
My grandmother used to say: “When you send a girl to college, you send her straight to hell”
Things have changed alot since her days. People don’t have a very solid connection to reality anymore. My grandfather used to say “War is necessary to keep people sane. Without the hardship of war once every generation, everyone forgets what’s important in life.” Maybe this is what’s happening to us. The men are ruined from lack of war. The women are ruined by opportunity, prosperity, and education.
When a man is taught to earn a greater income, he uses it to woo women. When a woman is taught to earn a greater income, she uses it to distance herself from men.
What lesson is learned by this? Is there any wonder that the bible has the story of adam an eve? This story is a lesson in human nature.
I’ll let someone else attempt an interpretation here. It is painfully obvious to me what the problem is.
Here’s here’s one more example. When a very busy very successfull man is asked what one thing would he change about his life if he could, he responds “I wish I had more time to spend with my family”. When a very busy very successfull woman is asked the very same question, she responds “I wish I had more time to myself”.
Need I say more? I’d say my grandmother was a genius and a saint.
IMO, you’ve nailed it. While the factors the original poster mentioned certainly influence birthrates, when children become a net economic liability birthrates plummet.
In the 50’s one person was required to work to support a family; today, two people must work to have the same standard of living as in the 50’s; and the reason is that one pay check is going to the shit hole our great politicians have created for their own self engrandizement (you know, like fighting aids, global warming, or ruling the planet, or some other happy crap like that).
I mean, come on, if you are spending (taxing) 3 trillion a year and in hock for another 8, do you think this federal beast is no going to turn every stone for a buck?
Quite frankly, everyone out there is putting on a show about how well off they are but it’s all debt, and they know that they can’t afford children unless they go for a way lower standard of living and they are NOT going to do that.
It’s not the whole story. Paying people to have kids won’t fix it. We already pay people to have kids. Earned income tax credit...welfare...wick, etc. It’s not working.
Cell phones? Tight shorts? Bad nutrition? Bad overall health? Abortion? All our possibilities.
I agree with your premise that in today’s post industrial welfare state, children are now an economic liability for the working class. Despite the Bush tax cuts, the tax burden is very high for working people. Federal taxes of 20-30%, state and local income taxes of 6-10%, sales taxes of 6-8%, plus property taxes provide a real financial incentive for both members of a new marriage to work particularly in urban areas where the cost of living is high. This results in couples having children late which in turn means there will be fewer children.
Over the last 10 years other social and economic factors have made the economics of having children even less attractive. The private pension system has been destroyed, meaning a responsible young couple now has to save enough money during a 30-40 year career to pay for a basic standard of living during a 30 year retirement. The private health care system is coming unraveled and every year fewer workers have employer supplemented health insurance so they face rapidly inflating medical costs. Wages are under downward pressure due to global free trade and uncontrolled immigration. Add to all of these factors less job security in the global economy and high debt from college loans as young people begin their careers.
The welfare class breeds due to lack of moral inhibitions and because government transfer payments and programs cover their child rearing costs. Globalization and high government taxation mean many young working people see childbearing as an unbearable cost.
Another factor is the atrocious education system. Working families pay for the education system through taxes. They pay again when they sacrifice to send their children to private school or lose one income to home school.
Job income stability is also important for establishing and sustaining a nurturing home environment for children as well as realizing the income stream required to cover the costs of maintaining the family and raising the children. Over the past two decades jobs at all levels and every type of employment (except possibly government) have become much less secure. This makes it difficult for the family to plan its economic future and therefore discourages large families.
The cost of raising children is substantial in a post industrial economy, given other financial issues the family faces. The meager tax incentives do not come close to offsetting these costs.
My wife and I are beyond childbearing age. We wish we had more children as we are concerned about the long term death of our culture and society due to declining birthrates. However, if we were starting out in life today, I wonder if we would have any children at all.
birth control, causes low birth rates, and a society that doesn’t value its’ children, but values selfish behavior.
Taxes. when you’re taxed hard, less children. People give up family to maintain a basic lifestyle. The Gov’mt pretends that they’ll care for you in your old age to justify confiscating your earnings. Whites are the hardest taxed people in the world. Especially in Europe. A country without immigration, on the wrong side of the tax curve, sees declining birthrates and population.
Causes? High tax rates. High cost of living. Both parents need to work in order to make it. Silly-ass tax deduction for each child that is so low that is nothing more than a joke. No welfare for Christian folks descended from Europeans. Christian folks descended from Europeans like to work and don’t want to lob around collecting welfare. Anti-fertility feminism.
Corrupt politicians bringing people into the country who don’t contribute to society and who cost us money so that we have to work more to pay for them.
Of course it works. We pay the welfare classes to have kids. They have plenty of kids. We tax the middle class up to its eyeballs. They don't have (enough) kids.
The financial penalities aren't the whole story but they're a big part of it. I'd favor a much larger child tax credit but it would need to be targeted to working parents, not welfare, so that it doesn't become an inducement to dependency. In major metro areas where the publick skools are a problem, school choice and vouchers would work wonders. I live in D.C. and private school has become a perceived necessity for the middle and upper middle class. It's a big bite.
The schools and employers need to do their part too, especially on time management. We get run ragged, as do all the other parents, with the schools taking every holiday known to man plus all the random half days and teacher training days, etc. Workplaces also need to adjust. Many, probably most, employers pay lip service to being family friendly but the reality is otherwise. 24/7 connectivity makes it worse. Like the schools, workplaces haven't really adjusted to the reality of two-worker families. I don't have a clue how the single moms manage at all. (A lot of them don't.)
In a thousand and one ways, most of them subtle, societies organize themselves around templates based on ideas of the "normal" or "typical" situation. The normal or typical implicitly becomes the preferred or favored. Today society is normalized for the single or childless person. That's what has to change.
This will take a conscious effort. I don't quite know how to do it. I've often thought that if I were an employer I'd call all the young singles into a room and explain to them that life is a cycle, that most of them will have kids sooner or later, that parents will be treated preferentially, and that their turn will come. I suppose I'd be sued.
For a generation we’ve been warned about over population. Somehow, we don’t hear that from the libs so much anymore. Now they’re off on to “climate change”.
I agree, It was Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb. the social engineers propagandized us to limit our families. Then they opened the borders and let in immigrants, instead. Frankly, I would rather have had more children of my own. Also, having lived the feminists” dream, myself, I have always thought it was a man’s idea, someone at the Labor department. My daughter said she watched me and decided that career is just not worth it. So, she’s a rich trophy wife having babies. Fortunately, we seem to be developing resistance to manipulation by propagandists.
Things haven’t changed since Maggie’s day. Six illegal aliens go into a Wal-Mart and ten come out.
Worldwide, the poorer the country the higher the birth rate. This is called the rabbit defense. The only defense rabbits have against their many enemies is to multiply faster than their enemies can kill them.
Think of it this way: Usually a mother and father combine their resources to support and sustain their family and have more children.
Now the model has changed due to liberal taxation. Mother and father have to combine their resources to support and sustain every welfare recipient, every third world nation reaching for a handout, 30 million illegal aliens sucking our subsidy and healthcare system dry, retiring baby boomers who've had their SS savings sacked by the government and so on.
If there's anything left, they can have children.
Isn't that special? Thank you Democrats and Republicrats.
Of course it works. We pay the welfare classes to have kids. They have plenty of kids.
These are not the people we want our nation repopulated with.
**What is the Cause of Low Birth Rates?**
Killing babies through abortion is the cause of low birth rates. The scourge of the nation. And we will have to answer to God for it.
What if YOUR mother had decided to abort you?
Overpopulation, Y2K, Global Warming...........LOL
Birth Control has allowed families to limit their size. It’s a contributing factor.
The Pill, and Abortion.
from Decline of the West, by Oswald Spengler:
“...When reason have to be put forward at all in a question of life, life itself has become questionable. At that point begins prudent limitation of the number of births. The primary woman, the peasant woman, is mother. The whole vocation towards which she has yearned from childhood is included in that one word. But now emerges the Ibsen woman, the comrade, the heroine of a whole megalopolitan literature from Northern drama to Parisian novel. Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is a craft-art for the achievement of “mutual understanding.” It is all the same whether the case against children is the American lady’s who would not miss a season for anything, or the Parisienne’s who fears that her lover would leave her, or an Ibsen heroine’s who “belongs to herself” - they all belong to themselves and they are all unfruitful...
At this level all Civilizations enter upon a stage, which last for centuries, of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile. At the last, only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its strongest and most promising elements...
Consequently we find everywhere in these Civilizations that the provincial cities at an early stage, and the giant cities in turn at the end of the evolution, stand empty, harbouring in their stone masses a small population of fellaheen who shelter in them as the men of the Stone Age sheltered in caves and pile-dwellings. Samarra was abndoned by the tenth century; Pataliputra, Asoka’s capital, was an immense and completely uninhabited waste of houses when the Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang visited it about A.D. 635, and many of the great Maya cities must have been in that condition even in Cortez’s time. In a long series of Classical writers from Polybius onward we read of old, renowned cities in which the streets have become lines of empty, crumbling shells, where the cattle browse in forum and gymnasium, and the amphitheatre is a sown field, dotted with emergent statues and hermae. Rome had in the fifth century of our era the population of a village, but its Imperial palaces were still habitable....”
Although I have a catholic viewpoint on world-history and identify with the “fellaheen” of Spengler, his words are wise and prophetic beyond belief.
Tell that to anyone who is relying on Social Security for any of their retirement money.
If you invert the pyramid the scheme collapses. Without children, the pointy end points down.
Thank you for those passages from Spengler. It seems impossible to find yourself across the broad and cyclical sweep of history — but I can see these patterns now in the world around me. The rise and fall...
Just the other day, I read that we had deployed 4,000,000 men during World War II. We built one war ship a month and produced airplanes by the week. We fought a war that lasted one year.
Our world has moved on... in a different direction.
Could it be because a woman is most receptive to reproduction in her teens/early twenties? Just a thought. I married at 17, have three kids, don’t regret it. Would have loved to have 10 kids. Lack of funds and both my boys are ADD. we’re talking never slept, walked by the time they were six months, wasn’t any carseat, high chair, crib, straight jacket they couldn’t get out of! I plain and simply could not have dealt with any more like them. My daughter was an angel. If I hadn’t had her, I would have thought I was the worst mom in the world!
As to your comment about women wanting more time to themselves-when women work outside the home, the first thing they do when they get home is start cooking, put a load of laundry in, settle the kids for homework-yada, yada,yada. Trying to get all the things done that they should have been doing all day. The men come in, sit down in front of the tv, and complaing because supper’s not on the table! Is it any wonder women need quiet time?!
Thanks for those links in Post 32!
Nice observation. I think it is important.
I am discussing the finances of the family, not that socialist Ponzi scheme. NO ONE has children because they think "My children will pay into the social security system and help me retire!!"
When it comes to having children, their tax contributions to society at large is irrelevant to the decision.
Abortion is obviously part of the explanation in Hungary, where in the early fifties (1950-1954) there were 3 children per woman of childbearing age, comfortably above the replacement level of 2.1 according to the Central Office of Statistics. In the year 2000, the last reliable published number, this has decreased to 1.33, and the number of abortions per live births has crept up from less than 1 in 10 in 1954, when illegal, to 1.2 already in 1960, when legalized! It has since decreased to about 0.6, but then the use of contraceptives has exploded in the meantime. All in all, sexual activity is unchanged, and the natural result is frustrated by contraceptives and abortions about in equal proportions. If abortions would be outlawed the number of live births would immediately jump to above replacement level.
I suspect, this is similar in most coutries.