All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal unmatched in recorded history that will make first-birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore.
Maternity wards are already shutting down in Italy. Ghost cities are appearing in northeastern China. Universities in South Korea cannot find enough students, and in Germany, hundreds of thousands of properties have been razed, with the land turned into parks.
Like an avalanche, the demographic forces — pushing toward more deaths than births — seem to be expanding and accelerating. Although some countries continue to see their populations grow, especially in Africa, fertility rates are falling nearly everywhere else. Demographers now predict that by the latter half of the century or possibly earlier, the global population will enter a sustained decline for the first time.
A planet with fewer people could ease pressure on resources, slow the destructive impact of climate change and reduce household burdens for women. But the census announcements this month from China and the United States, which showed the slowest rates of population growth in decades for both countries, also point to hard-to-fathom adjustments.
The strain of longer lives and low fertility, leading to fewer workers and more retirees, threatens to upend how societies are organized — around the notion that a surplus of young people will drive economies and help pay for the old. It may also require a reconceptualization of family and nation. Imagine entire regions where everyone is 70 or older. Imagine governments laying out huge bonuses for immigrants and mothers with lots of children. Imagine a gig economy filled with grandparents and Super Bowl ads promoting procreation.
“A paradigm shift is necessary,” said Frank Swiaczny, a German demographer who was the chief of population trends and analysis for the United Nations until last year. “Countries need to learn to live with and adapt to decline.”
The ramifications and responses have already begun to appear, especially in East Asia and Europe. From Hungary to China, from Sweden to Japan, governments are struggling to balance the demands of a swelling older cohort with the needs of young people whose most intimate decisions about childbearing are being shaped by factors both positive (more work opportunities for women) and negative (gender inequality and high living costs).
The 20th century presented a very different challenge. The global population saw its greatest increase in known history, from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000, as life spans lengthened and infant mortality declined. In some countries — representing about one-third of the world’s people — those growth dynamics are still in play. By the end of the century, Nigeria could surpass China in population; across sub-Saharan Africa, families are still having four or five children.
But nearly everywhere else, the era of high fertility is ending. As women have gained more access to education and contraception and as the anxieties associated with having children intensify, more parents are delaying pregnancy, and fewer babies are being born. Even in countries long associated with rapid growth, such as India and Mexico, birthrates are falling toward or are already below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family….
The above comes from a May 24 story originally published in the New York Times.
Married couples, have that family, start now. This is the sign you have been looking for, be at peace, let God plan your family.
In the first place, young people need to grow up to be at their best, with no crazy leftist, rebellious, immoral beliefs and behaviors. Find a very good potential respobsible lifelong spouse, with good Christian family values, no dope, pre-marital sex, or deviant behaviors, with good character and a good future. Get married in the church, settle down, and start a lovely family. I believe that’s the place to start.
Please pray for all the young faithful Catholics that are having trouble finding spouses.
Kids are expensive and jobs are insecure and don’t pay well.
Our declining birth rate has very little to do with money. This is not the cause.
It’s a large part of it. Why do so many impoverished women seek abortions?
Birth rates decrease as income rises.
Look at poor countries where incomes are low and birth rates are high. They see treasure in their children. Fat rich western countries do not see the wealth children bring to the world and now the demographic winter is fast approaching. As in the Church, if it’s not crying it’s dying.
Correlate that with education and see the same effect. The cause is education.
The cause is often selfishness, “me-me-me” narcissism, feminism, immorality, birth control and promiscuity. The filthy, immoral, irresponsible 1960s “hippie leftist radical beliefs and “lifestyle.” Rejecting Traditional Marriage, home, family, and responsibility. The modern colleges reinforce these sick ideas. Birth rates decrease to almost zero, with education, wealth, and immoral “lifestyles.” The Death of Western Civilization!
Kids are a long term investment. They do pay but not in the way you are alluding.
Are you one of those pet parent types? I’ve grown accustomed to the bogus nonsense in my job. Married folks who think having a dog makes them a parent.
ano, we need the children and the family dog, too! Both! Glad that poor dog has a loving home! I have worked as a volunteer, with animals and the local SPCA organizations, lifelong! Good for children to grow up with a beloved family dog or kitty! Spayed/neutered, all shots, responsible vet care. And good for kids to learn pet care and responsibility!
There is only one recipe for true success with this problem. Our country needs mature men and women, accepting of their natural, God-given masculinity and femininity, and adult roles in life.
My post of May 25 at 7:54 pm was shortened. I believe the highly destructive 1960s “hippie” leftist immoral garbage that has infiltrated our society, needs to be completely eradicated. We need a good, Traditional Marriage and Family-centered society, with our Christian roots revitalized, and traditional, Biblically-based Judeo-Christian Morality practiced from coast to coast. Boys and girls should grow up to become normal men and women, get married, settle down, have families, and lead good lives. Those with serious “LGBT” issues should be treated fairly, live responsibly and chastely, and lead productive lives. Our laws should protect and nurture Traditional Marriage and Family– but also, punish bullies who hurt the “LGBTs.”
Probably because you are slow to make your point. Just spit it out, don’t write a book.
“Spit it out?” Vulgar post, Anonymous– no manners! Go back to grade school and learn how to write a nice post.
Defy the Left have a large family Anon LGBT types are directly responsible for the moral chaos we now have along with the sexual degenerates
Actually, contraception is the root of all the problems.
Amen!! Contraception and abortion are rotten fruit from the same tree.
Amen!! Contraception and abortion are rotten fruit from the same tree.
Moms Care and Anonymous– I believe the mortal sin of promiscuity– pre-marital sex– is the true evil. And deviant teachers, preachers, and psychologists preaching promiscuous sex outside of marriage to kids as falsely “good” or even “healthy.”
Priests don’t have babies, so they’re part of the problem. Let’s let priests get married if you think we need to populate the earth with more Catholics.