demographic winter - falling fertility

On Demographic Winter, Media Finally Get a Clue

28 May 2021

1.2 MINS

Regarding the May 24 New York Times article, “Long Slide Looms for World Population,” Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said,

“The mainstream media is finally starting to get that Demographic Winter is a reality.”

The Times reports:

All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal unmatched in human history that will make first birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore.

“Like an avalanche, the demographic forces — pushing toward more deaths than births — seem to be expanding and accelerating.”

The article also notes:

  • The combination of longer lives and lower fertility is leading to fewer workers and more retirees, putting a severe strain on pension systems.
  • Because China will begin experiencing population decline, and Nigeria will continue growing due to larger family size, by the end of the century, Nigeria could have more people than China.
  • Once worldwide population decline begins, it could lead to a population freefall.
  • Countries like the U.S., Australia and Canada, with birthrates between 1.5 and 2 (with 2.1 needed to replace current population), have lessened the impact with immigration.
  • In 1992, South Korea had 900,000 18-year-olds. Today the number is 500,000.
  • An article in The Lancet speculates that by 2100, 183 out of 195 countries and territories will have fertility rates below replacement.
  • In Europe, incentives like baby bonuses and subsidised child care have had only a temporary impact on declining fertility.

“But there’s still a lot the media misses,” said Ruth Inst. Coalitions Director Don Feder.

“The biggest factors driving falling fertility are the decline of marriage and religious observance. In the United States, the fertility rate has dropped from 3.5 in the 1950s to 1.9 today. Among adults in the prime childbearing years of 18 to 24, 45% were married in 1960, but only 9% were in 2016.”

Feder will speak on Demographic Winter at the Ruth Institute’s Survivors’ Summit, “Reclaiming the Professions for Life and Family,” July 16-17 in Lake Charles, LA, USA.

[Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash]

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