Big-think story: What does religion have to do with slumping global birth rates?

GetReligion | 11/28/2019 | Richard Ostling
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“The End of Babies.”

That was the arresting headline on a hefty and significant lead article in The New York Times Sunday Review section for Nov. 17 about spreading international “reproductive malaise,” a.k.a what some are now calling the Baby Bust.

Stuff - Implications

This is big stuff. Yes, there are religious implications here.

The Guy is old enough to remember apocalyptic journalism about a lethal “population explosion” heading our way. Now social analysts are issuing the opposite warning for some countries. Among other ills, when average ages rise this causes labor shortages, lack of children to care for aged parents and deficits in public and private pension funds with fewer younger wage-earners to carry the oldsters.

Government - Interventions - Population - Trouble

Government interventions to skew population can cause trouble.

China feared increasing hordes and long forced couples to have only one child. Combined with open abortion and gender favoritism, that has produced a dire shortage of marriageable women. David French of notes the National Bureau of Economic Research found that California’s paid family leave, which you’d think would encourage more births, apparently reduced childbearing.

Population - Nation - Average - Births - Woman

To keep the population from shrinking, a nation needs an average of 2.1 births per woman resident. Numbers fall well below that in e.g. Taiwan (1.13), Japan (1.42), Thailand (1.52), China (1.6), the United States (an all-time low of 1.7) and numerous well-off European nations like Denmark (also 1.7).

Denmark is a major puzzle in the Times piece by Anna Louie Sussman, working in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Affluent Danes are better able to cover the costs of child-rearing than parents in many countries. Denmark’s welfare state makes it as easy as possible to have children, with 12 months of family leave after birth, government funding for in vitrofertilization, and heavily subsidized day care.

So what gives?

Better career opportunities for women are one...
(Excerpt) Read more at: GetReligion
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