America's Fertility Decline

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
America's Fertility Decline
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Tue, 02-05-2013 - 2:36pm

I thought the following article from the WSJ was pretty interesting.  It talks about how a society with declining fertility puts it at risk of having skewed age demographics, which causes many problems due to an aging population.  It claims that issues we are facing in the U.S., such as the economy, are caused by declining fertility rates: 

Low-fertility societies don't innovate because their incentives for consumption tilt overwhelmingly toward health care. They don't invest aggressively because, with the average age skewing higher, capital shifts to preserving and extending life and then begins drawing down. They cannot sustain social-security programs because they don't have enough workers to pay for the retirees. They cannot project power because they lack the money to pay for defense and the military-age manpower to serve in their armed forces.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323375204578270053387770718.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

They suggest that the decline in the U.S. is caused from stagnent middle class wages, more women getting college degrees and entering more varied careers than in past years.  I also think that high daycare costs, not to mention the basic costs of having a child, play into the decision to have fewer offspring.  

The articles gives a few ways to improve the fertility rate by making changes to social security, decreasing the costs of college tuition and improving infrastructures to make commuting more cost effective.  

What are your thoughts on the article?  With the current economy, do you think it's feasible for families to have more children? 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 11:37am

OMG, I have to disagree with the Wall Street Journal. Smile  It's saying at a national level we're hurting ourselves because we're having less children.  That Social Security is in danger is true.  However, what incredible debt and disaster we'd have if families started having more children than they can afford.  What an immense burden to put on our government, our neighbors, heck ourselves as parents, if every household had 5 children, for instance, but no hope of paying even a little for college, no hope of decent medical coverage, not being able to pay our bills and taxes because we have to pay for food, heat, clothing, etc. for additional children.

The WSJ got it wrong.  It's preferable that we decide on a case by case basis how many children we want and can afford. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 1:41pm

People should decide for themselves how many children they are willing to raise, but to suggest that somehow the earth is running low on people is ridiculous.   On a global scale, we're stressing out the planet with too many people and too few resources.  If we want only a lot of middle to upper class white American babies to read the Wall Street Journal, we may have a problem.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sat, 02-09-2013 - 7:55am

I don't think having babies is linked to who can or can't afford to have them, It never stopped moms before and just b/c there's more access to b/c doesn't mean women are going to use it. If there's a decline its going to be because women put having babies off for careers or chose childless IMO, Marriage rates are on the decline while same sex unions are on the rise too, You have to wonder what affects that will have on future populations. 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Sat, 02-09-2013 - 11:11pm
I have heard many women say that they limited the size of their family or spaced their children far apart because they couldn't afford daycare for more than one or two at a time, or because they didn't think they'd be able to send more than two to college. So I so think many couples are looking long and hard at long term costs before deciding to have a third or even second child.
Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 9:32am

Bord, I met a demographer once who explained that the more resources people have, the fewer kids they have, on average. If you are just subsisting, it makes no difference anyway, so you crank them out. Once you have something to invest in your kids, you tend to have less kids in order to maximize the investment in each child.

College is a good example. If you have no hope or intention of helping with college, and perhaps not even any expectation that your kids might go, then it doesn't matter if you have 10 kids. Once it is feasible for you to educate your kids, you tend to limit the brrod to make it possible for them to go as far as possible.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
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Registered: 10-23-2001
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 3:09pm
Ha, A good friend of mine has 10, She has three college age kids, One is at West Point and the other two are at well ranked universities, Her younger kids are following in those same foot steps. She and her husband are amazing people and amazing parents but they're no millionaires, Lol. Believe it or not, Some still work for things the hard way - they earn it.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 5:48pm
That is commendable that the two students are able to put themselves through university on their own earnings, Jam. What kind of work do they do that pays that well?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2005
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 8:02pm
I don't think she said that the students are putting themselves through school. She did say that they work hard which maybe I am wrong but thought she meant the parents. Not all parents have the resources to pay for an entire college education or they do not want to.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 9:33pm
I thought it was the kids who worked hard and paid for their own education. If the parents are paying for nine kids college education, they must be working pretty hard. If they aren't paying for it, how does the working hard and having three kids in college fit together? I guess I am confused.
Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 02-17-2013 - 11:53am

Of course it's commendable, That's my point! 

 

 

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