Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

American fertility decline

Jonathan V. Last writes a WSJ op-ed:
For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country's brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women — a good proxy for the middle class — have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate. ...

Which leaves us with outsourcing our fertility. We've received a massive influx of immigrants from south of the border since the late 1970s. Immigration has kept America from careening over the demographic cliff. Today, there are roughly 38 million people in the U.S. who were born elsewhere. (Two-thirds of them are here legally.) To put that in perspective, consider that just four million babies are born annually in the U.S.

If you strip these immigrants — and their relatively high fertility rates — from our population profile, America suddenly looks an awful lot like continental Europe, which has a fertility rate of 1.5., if not quite as demographically terminal as Japan.

Relying on immigration to prop up our fertility rate also presents several problems, ...
He is plugging his new book, What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster. He also plugs it in this C-Span interview.

He says you might not have noticed this if you live in a child-friendly community. He alludes to a 2009 book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, which argues that the USA has clustered into communities of people with similar ways of life, beliefs, and politics. The Republican communities are pro-family, and the Democrat communities are more interested in pampering their pets.

One of Last's observations is that it is extremely rare to find a non-church-going family with 4 or more kids. Apparently having kids is correlated with attending religious services.

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