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Author Topic: Why a Falling Birth Rate Is a Big Problem  (Read 363 times)
loco
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« on: December 04, 2012, 04:53:42 PM »

It sounds like one of those stories you can safely ignore: The U.S. birth rate has hit a record low, led by a big drop in the portion of immigrant women having babies.

This development doesn't directly affect anybody, since it's one of those long-term societal trends that occurs in small increments and doesn't change the unemployment rate, the price of gas, the direction of the stock market or any of the big economic forces that make our lives better or worse today. And since the trend is strongest among immigrants, it sounds like maybe this is something happening in a shadowy part of the economy that doesn't matter all that much.

But it does matter, and if the trend persists, it could mean lower living standards for most Americans in the future.

It may seem intuitively obvious that a slower-growing or declining population is good for the economy, especially when you think about starving children in poor parts of the world where there's not enough food for everybody. In places where resources are severely limited--and economic policies are dysfunctional--it may be true that a growing population is a bad thing.

But that's usually because such economies are static, and instead of creating wealth they typically just divide up what's already there. That's not the situation in America, which has a dynamic economy that creates wealth and more than enough resources for all of its citizens.

On the contrary, one of the great strengths of the U.S. economy, especially compared to Europe and Japan, is a relatively high birth rate, which keep the population young, on average, and population growth robust. "Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands," says economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. "It's generally true that most people produce more than they consume."

A growing population is good for the economy when rising productivity continually reduces the amount of resources required to produce a given amount of output. Even now, with the U.S. economy in a rut and too many people out of work, productivity is rising, which means a larger population would generate more wealth per person than a smaller one. Boudreaux points out that Manhattan, one of the mostly densely populated places in America, is also one of the wealthiest, whereas rural states like Mississippi are sparsely populated, and much poorer.

The sizeable drop in the U.S. birth rate, reported recently by the Pew Research Center, has probably occurred because of the struggling economy. Though Pew didn't investigate the reasons behind the decline, birth rates tend to rise and fall based on how optimistic or pessimistic people feel. The U.S. birth rate peaked in 1957 (hence the "baby boom" generation), when the economy was booming and the unemployment rate was about 4.5 percent. It sagged in the 1970s, when inflation and other problems battered U.S. workers. The birth rate stabilized in the 1980s and stayed more or less level, until starting to dip again in 2008.

Since then, younger Americans have been waiting longer to get married, often because of economic difficulties. Married couples may be waiting longer to have kids, or having fewer kids, for the same reason. While the trends are more pronounced among immigrants, they're occurring throughout the U.S. population.

These types of demographic trends get the attention of economists when big changes might raise or lower the economy's capacity to grow--which could be happening now. Fewer marriages and fewer children lower the rate of household formation, which means people spend less on everything from appliances to clothing. "Fertility rates have plunged, and that will have an impact on future consumer spending," says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economists at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

That trend could reverse itself if the economy picks up for good and Americans become convinced that happier days lie ahead. But for now, a dearth of babies and a limp economy may be reinforcing each other. A few more babies would be good for business.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-falling-birth-rate-big-155818944.html
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 05:03:42 PM »

It sounds like one of those stories you can safely ignore: The U.S. birth rate has hit a record low, led by a big drop in the portion of immigrant women having babies.

This development doesn't directly affect anybody, since it's one of those long-term societal trends that occurs in small increments and doesn't change the unemployment rate, the price of gas, the direction of the stock market or any of the big economic forces that make our lives better or worse today. And since the trend is strongest among immigrants, it sounds like maybe this is something happening in a shadowy part of the economy that doesn't matter all that much.

But it does matter, and if the trend persists, it could mean lower living standards for most Americans in the future.

It may seem intuitively obvious that a slower-growing or declining population is good for the economy, especially when you think about starving children in poor parts of the world where there's not enough food for everybody. In places where resources are severely limited--and economic policies are dysfunctional--it may be true that a growing population is a bad thing.

But that's usually because such economies are static, and instead of creating wealth they typically just divide up what's already there. That's not the situation in America, which has a dynamic economy that creates wealth and more than enough resources for all of its citizens.

On the contrary, one of the great strengths of the U.S. economy, especially compared to Europe and Japan, is a relatively high birth rate, which keep the population young, on average, and population growth robust. "Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands," says economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. "It's generally true that most people produce more than they consume."

A growing population is good for the economy when rising productivity continually reduces the amount of resources required to produce a given amount of output. Even now, with the U.S. economy in a rut and too many people out of work, productivity is rising, which means a larger population would generate more wealth per person than a smaller one. Boudreaux points out that Manhattan, one of the mostly densely populated places in America, is also one of the wealthiest, whereas rural states like Mississippi are sparsely populated, and much poorer.

The sizeable drop in the U.S. birth rate, reported recently by the Pew Research Center, has probably occurred because of the struggling economy. Though Pew didn't investigate the reasons behind the decline, birth rates tend to rise and fall based on how optimistic or pessimistic people feel. The U.S. birth rate peaked in 1957 (hence the "baby boom" generation), when the economy was booming and the unemployment rate was about 4.5 percent. It sagged in the 1970s, when inflation and other problems battered U.S. workers. The birth rate stabilized in the 1980s and stayed more or less level, until starting to dip again in 2008.

Since then, younger Americans have been waiting longer to get married, often because of economic difficulties. Married couples may be waiting longer to have kids, or having fewer kids, for the same reason. While the trends are more pronounced among immigrants, they're occurring throughout the U.S. population.

These types of demographic trends get the attention of economists when big changes might raise or lower the economy's capacity to grow--which could be happening now. Fewer marriages and fewer children lower the rate of household formation, which means people spend less on everything from appliances to clothing. "Fertility rates have plunged, and that will have an impact on future consumer spending," says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economists at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

That trend could reverse itself if the economy picks up for good and Americans become convinced that happier days lie ahead. But for now, a dearth of babies and a limp economy may be reinforcing each other. A few more babies would be good for business.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-falling-birth-rate-big-155818944.html

Perhaps it is time we changed things up a bit. The fact that a country's or the world's economic health is partially dependent on population growth is out-of-step with what overpopulation is doing to the health of the planet. I for one am all for zero population growth. I have two children who are married and who have given us four grandchildren. That is zero population growth....at least in our family. Oh, and two of my grandchildren are girls and two are boys. This is a perfect scenario, imo.
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 05:06:39 PM »

One night stands with condoms
People refusing to commit/marriage
People refusing to have children/hate children
Gays

=

Decline of population
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 05:51:41 PM »

One night stands with condoms
People refusing to commit/marriage
People refusing to have children/hate children
Gays

=

Decline of population

Are you suggesting we need more unwanted babies?

You don't need to be married or even in a committed relationship to have a child.

The percentage of people who don't want children has likely not changed much. What may have changed is people allowing themselves to be talked into having children they don't want by spouses or for religious reasons.

The percentage of people who are gay has not changed, furthermore more gay people are adopting children as a well as having them via surrogacy and sperm donors.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 05:58:49 PM »

mhmm keep doing what you're doing  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2012, 08:48:01 AM »

One of the reasons why things like Social(ism) Security and Medicare are pyramid schemes.

I've been a Christian since 1998 and I don't plan on having kids, because even atheists can watch the news for five minutes and see the giant sh*tstorm on the horizon. Sex and parenthood are nothing to be no-hum about in times like these.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2012, 09:21:29 AM »

don't worry, republicans promise to balance population through amnesty in 2016.   Bring in 20 million new 'undocumented' workers in the Rubio/Christie admin.
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2012, 03:34:52 PM »

Falling birth rates are overwhelmingly occurring amongst populations who actually contribute to the betterment of our overall society........predomina ntly, populations with high standards of living in industrialized countries. The birth replacement rate needs to fall dramatically from the Third World and Muslim hordes who constantly seek to pour in their collective unwashed and uneducated masses into nations that most assuredly do not need them.

Blame must also be put squarely on the shoulders of religions such as Catholicism and Islam whose influence is overwhelming in mostly poor nations, encouraging populations to have more children when there is no resources available to take care of said children. 
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 08:58:41 PM »

Falling birth rates are overwhelmingly occurring amongst populations who actually contribute to the betterment of our overall society........predomina ntly, populations with high standards of living in industrialized countries. The birth replacement rate needs to fall dramatically from the Third World and Muslim hordes who constantly seek to pour in their collective unwashed and uneducated masses into nations that most assuredly do not need them.

Blame must also be put squarely on the shoulders of religions such as Catholicism and Islam whose influence is overwhelming in mostly poor nations, encouraging populations to have more children when there is no resources available to take care of said children. 

Originally, some religions such as Catholicism encouraged large families because that we one way to increase the number of parishioners and thus income. One of the many reasons that many people in third world countries have larger families is because the mortality rate is higher. Another reason is that children work and therefore contribute to the families welfare. You see this in agricultural areas a lot.
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 09:03:39 PM »

We need to somehow encourage middle and upper class people to breed, and discourage lower class people.

Eugenics, and sterilization. (No Nazi)
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 09:05:42 PM »

Catholicism typically frowns upon birth control, which is one of many reasons why it's an apostate church.
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2012, 09:23:11 PM »

We need to somehow encourage middle and upper class people to breed, and discourage lower class people.

Eugenics, and sterilization. (No Nazi)

Good luck with that (yes Nazi).
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 09:25:00 PM »

Good luck with that (yes Nazi).

Would you atleast agree with the part about strongly discouraging people that unfit financially (and mentally) from reproducing?
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 09:45:11 PM »

Would you atleast agree with the part about strongly discouraging people that unfit financially (and mentally) from reproducing?

I agree that people who cannot afford or are unfit in other ways should not be encouraged to have children. I am not sure how one can discourage this though. Human beings' sexual urges are very powerful; they are bound to engage in sexual intercourse at some point. Unfortunately, the uneducated and misinformed are most likely to have unprotected intercourse. It is a dilemma that no one can really solve.

Would you be willing to pay people to not get pregnant or if they did, have an abortion?
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2012, 09:48:57 PM »

I agree that people who cannot afford or are unfit in other ways should not be encouraged to have children. I am not sure how one can discourage this though. Human beings' sexual urges are very powerful; they are bound to engage in sexual intercourse at some point. Unfortunately, the uneducated and misinformed are most likely to have unprotected intercourse. It is a dilemma that no one can really solve.

Would you be willing to pay people to not get pregnant or if they did, have an abortion?

No, but I would be willing to sterilize 50% of people at birth.

I'm a libertarian with fascist tendencies.  Undecided
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2012, 09:55:22 PM »

No, but I would be willing to sterilize 50% of people at birth.

I'm a libertarian with fascist tendencies.  Undecided

Well, good luck with this.
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