The Death of Birth — Our Dismal Fertility Rates

Through Collapsed Fertility Rates, We Are Self-Exterminating

Archive for the 'General' Category

The Coming Acceleration of Population Aging

Wolfgang Lutz is a highly respected demographer specializing in the sub-field of fertility rates. With co-authors Warren Sanderson and Sergei Scherbov he has published an article in Nature magazine (vol. 451, pp. 716-719, February 7, 2008). The piece, titled “The coming acceleration of global population aging, examines the aging that will occur worldwide over the next several decades as a result of reduced fertility rates and increased life expectancies.

They conclude that the speed of aging will increase over the next several decades and then being to decrease by mid-century. This does not mean, however, that the aging will cease. In fact, their research indicates that populations will continue to get older throughout the century. They predict that globally the average human age will rise from 26.6 in 2000 to 37.3 in 2050. By 2100 they expect the average age to have reached 45.6 years-of-age “when it is not adjusted for longevity increase.” They also predict an 88% probability that the world’s population will stop growing some time during this century.

An abstract of the Nature paper can be found here, along with the opportunity to purchase the entire report.

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis has published an interview with Lutz that can be read here.

The $4 Trillion Headache and What the Government Isn’t Doing about It.

Have you noticed how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) so often predicts near term federal deficits to be followed by surpluses beyond the current or even the next presidential term? Have you also noticed that those surpluses almost never arrive? And have you noticed that, when the forecasted federal fiscal boom fails to materialize, the CBO releases yet another forecast of near term deficits followed by surpluses, scheduled to appear after what is now the current or even the next presidential term?

Well, those folks are at it again. CNNMoney reports:

“According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the annual budget deficit will improve during the next president’s four-year term and end in a surplus of $61 billion by 2013.”

That’s right. The surplus will arrive not during the current or next presidential administration, but during the term after the next.


…baseline projection is based on financial assumptions that no one expects to pan out. Two of the biggest roadblocks threatening to upend budgetary nirvana: What to do about the looming expiration of tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, and the growing cost of fixing – or nixing – the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).Depending on how you address them, those two factors alone could add close to $4 trillion to the federal budget deficit by 2018, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center.

Add in the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing costs of Medicare and Social Security, and you end up with something more like a budgetary nadir.

As pointed out in that last sentence, the forecast fails to consider the effects of committed transfer programs — the ones that will slam us over the coming decades with the retirement of the Baby Boomers and the aging of our society.

Unfortunately, the two major political parties are sticking with their standard approaches — the Democrats continue to call for new programs and the Republicans further cultivate their visceral aversion to taxes.

The last line of the CNN article sums up matters well:

The political friction over which route to take will play a big part in shaping the next president’s initiatives. Gordon of the Concord Coalition said it’s not hard to find ways to balance the budget mathematically. But, he said, “it’s hard politically.”

Demographic Winter: The Movie

According to press releases and this website, a soon-to-be-released documentary will reveal the gravity of collapsed fertility rates and the associated aging and shrinking of populations. The hour-long film points out that a worldwide economic and social upheaval will result from the millions of individual decisions to avoid both marriage and having children.


As stated in the trailer to “Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family,” “Never in history have we had economic prosperity accompanied by depopulation.”

In other words, we will be faced by “economic collapse. There won’t be enough people to run the trains or to pay the taxes.”

Written and directed by Rick Stout, “Demographic Winter” dares to question political correctness, the movement that has done so much to bring us to this brink — the movement, which demands that we continue its practices despite their being so clearly discredited.

According to Kay Hymowitz, of the Manhattan Institute, young adults, especially men, now choose to marry later or not at all. As readers of this blog are aware, the phenomenon of men avoiding marriage is known as the “marriage strike.” This growing trend contributes markedly to the demographic winter.

Societies would do well to turn from attempting to shame men into marriage; aside from its injustice, the tactic isn’t working. Rather, cultures need to examine the changes in marriage, especially in family law, that are leading men to re-evaluate and reject the institution.

More Frequent Blogs

As of today, this blog will be updated more frequently. Except for rare circumstances, such as times without Internet connectivity, there will be at least one new blog every week, generally posted on Saturday or Sunday.

The Risk of Birthing at a Later Age

According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare the number of Australian births jumped by 6% from 2004 to 2005. Though this is good news for the child-hungry nation, it may well be temporary. As in other countries, the daughters of baby boomers are reaching their thirties — their most fecund years. Once this cohort has passed its mid-30s, a smaller number of women will enter this age group, and fertility rates will likely fall again.

What may not be such a quickly passing phenomenon is the rise in the percentage of pre-term births and the associated health problems. The average age of a woman giving birth rose from 28.6 in 1996 to 29.8 in 2005. Equally foreboding was the age increase of first time mothers from roughly 26.5 to 28 over the same decade. Pre-term births and low birth weights are often found with birthing by older women, and the new statistics bear out this association. Of all babies born, 8.1% were three or more weeks premature with 6.4% officially underweight at 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) or less.

Low birth weights increase the risk of infant mortality and closely correlate with a number of physical problems including respiratory illness and neurodevelopmental difficulties.

The report, “Australia’s Mothers and Babies 2005,” notes that 17.4% of mothers smoked during pregnancy. Dr. Sullivan, of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Perinatal Statistics Unit stated, “Poorer outcomes such as pre-term birth and low birth weight were more common in the less advantaged groups.” In addition, wealthier mothers were less likely to smoke while gestating. The American Lung Association notes that “If a woman smokes during pregnancy she takes a big chance with her baby’s health. There is a greater chance that she will lose the baby during pregnancy. The baby could also be born too early, before the lungs are ready, so he or she will have trouble breathing.” The organization also points out that “when the mother smokes, so does the baby. Smokers take in poisons such as nicotine and carbon monoxide (the same gas that comes out of a car’s exhaust pipe). These poisons get into the placenta, which is the tissue that connects the mother and the baby before it is born. These poisons keep the unborn baby from getting the food and oxygen needed to grow.”

The March of Dimes points out that “Smoking has long been known to slow fetal growth. Studies also suggest that smoking increases the risk of preterm delivery 37 weeks of gestation. Premature and low-birthweight babies face an increased risk of serious health problems during the newborn period, chronic lifelong disabilities (such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and learning problems) and even death.”

Countries that pay women to have children would do well to look into what impact the practice has regarding the health of society’s newest members. We need to ask if a middle class or wealthy woman will have a child, whom she otherwise wouldn’t have had, in return for a monetary payment. Is it more likely financial compensation will lead a poor woman, who is desperate for money, to have a child that she wouldn’t otherwise have had?

In considering these matters, it would of course be necessary to avoid racism or classism or any of the other pernicious isms that so often plague societies. Perhaps governments should spend more to educate and care for poor, pregnant women. Certainly societies should not cavalierly engage in practices that result in a higher percentage of children with serious health problems.

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