Baby bust
June 4, 2009 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Is the recession behind a decline in birth rates? The US Census seems to indicate it and now research from the UK seems to be saying the same thing. Some people spotted signs of the trend last year and now it seems the predictions are becoming true. For some, declining birth rates are a problem, for others its the answer to all our problems.
posted by mandeville (17 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster works for PR firm promoting KidStart. -- cortex



 
SINGLE DATA POINT + ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE CONSTITUTE THEORY, SAY SCIENTISTS
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on June 4, 2009


For some, declining birth rates are a problem, for others its the answer to all our problems.

Wow, you set up the conditions for a long, bitter, pointless argument here on the blue pretty effectively.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:44 AM on June 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wait, I read that when people don't have money they stay home and do things that don't cost money, so there's a potential boom coming, but if this post is correct then who will pay for my social security?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:46 AM on June 4, 2009


Smart journalists should never mistake a single data point for a meaningful development. Data isn't the plural of anecdote, as the saying goes. But every so often you have to go with your gut. And so I'm suggesting—not declaring—that the recent results from Pediatrix Medical Group may indicate that the slower economy is causing a decline in births. -- Daniel Gross, for Slate

Single data point + anecdotal evidence = news story, says reporter.

New census figures show steep decline in number of children under age 1

That's fine. What are they doing to bolster the economy? Selfish babies had it coming.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:51 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Population-wise, we appear to be adding a new Mexico City every five weeks or so.

While granting that I'm easily freaked out, I find that a very disturbing statistic.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:58 AM on June 4, 2009


The GDP of a service economy suffers from falling population.

The GDP of the primary sector -- mining and agribusiness -- isn't so dependent on population, given mechanization, but there does seem to be severe oversupply of agribusiness output vs. our domestic demand, pushing production into exportable cash crops like tree fruits.

Japan is a poster child for depopulation and its follow-on economic effects.

I was FOB in Tokyo in the early 90s -- when I arrived there were 10M highschoolers, ~8M junior highers, and 14M younger kids running around.

In 2010 there will be 6M highschoolers, 6M junior highers, and 12M younger types.

In 2050 there will be 4.5M highschoolers, 4.5M junior highers, and 8M youngsters.

Education is not a growth industry there!

Right now there are 14M Japanese in their 20s, by 2050 this number will fall to 9M.

I frankly don't see how their economy is going to adjust to this radical scaleback, but I suspect a much greater integration between Japan and mainland China economically if not socially. Japanese need their human capital and the Chinese could use the economic opportunities afforded by a first-world economy needing this labor.
posted by @troy at 7:04 AM on June 4, 2009


Same thing happened in the 1930s, that generation was small compared to the generation before (Greatest 1900-1925) and after (Boomers 1943-1963) - they are called the "Silent Generation" (1925-1943). Also why Generation X (1963-1982) is relatively small compared to the generation before (Boomers) and after (Millennial 1982-2001) - and one reason why the current generation (2001-?) is going to be smaller - it's all related.
Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation today, die, and their experiences with them."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance" (1841)
posted by stbalbach at 7:08 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


we appear to be adding a new Mexico City every five weeks or so... I find that a very disturbing statistic.

Another curious statistic. By 2015, the city of Bombay (*) will have more people than the entire country of Italy.

(*)Technically Mumbai, but it's a monstrosity of nationalism so I go with its historic, and better sounding, name.
posted by stbalbach at 7:15 AM on June 4, 2009


In other birthrate news: Houston doctors foresee a baby boom thanks to Ike?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 AM on June 4, 2009


Education is not a growth industry there!
Education should not have to be a "growth industry," any more than healthcare or water or electricity need to be a "growth industry." They are basic needs in a modern society. As such, they should be disassociated from the corporate/economic mindset of eternal growth.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 AM on June 4, 2009


"Education should not have to be a "growth industry," any more than healthcare or water or electricity need to be a "growth industry." They are basic needs in a modern society. As such, they should be disassociated from the corporate/economic mindset of eternal growth."

Well, besides wishful thinking, countries without this "economic mindset" don't have a good track record in these fields. I recommend some reading of Ludwig von Mises.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 8:49 AM on June 4, 2009


Older generations exploit younger gernerations. Always. We are in for trouble.
It will also shift world powers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_bulge#Youth_bulge
posted by yoyo_nyc at 8:54 AM on June 4, 2009


Did older generations exploit younger generations historically due to the nature of industry? In other words, will the fact that most "work" in the U.S. going forward is probably not going to be dependent on heavy labor, muscle, physical rigor, etc but rather on either intellectual rigor or the ability to wear a McDonald's hat mean that older generations won't need to exploit the younger as much? I pose this as an idea for argument's sake, not as a truism/theory that I adhere to.
posted by spicynuts at 9:09 AM on June 4, 2009


my theory is people are having less children because they're afraid of the effects of the MMR vaccine.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:18 AM on June 4, 2009


Youth Bulge wiki link, for the lazy.

There is also the fear/excitement/interest in the peak population theories.
[International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis] think there is an 85 per cent chance that the global population will stop growing before the end of the century - most probably by 2070. More than one third of people alive in 2100 will be over 60, they say. In Japan, the figure will be one half.
Fertility rates are also interesting, though they aren't the whole picture for the population of a given region or country. Immigration will play a major role in the future U.S. growth, as projected by the Pew Research Center.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:28 AM on June 4, 2009


What are they doing to bolster the economy?

Encouraging, even demanding, the purchase of diapers, infant formula, pyjamas with feet, Oscar the Grouch puppets, headache medicine - oh, so many many ways.....
posted by IndigoJones at 11:56 AM on June 4, 2009


By 2015, the city of Bombay (*) will have more people than the entire country of Italy.

This sort of thing makes me think that perhaps we need to base our governments on population, not land mass. Bombay's city government should — at least in theory — be about as complex as Italy's. In some ways, it might be better off declaring itself an independent nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:05 PM on June 4, 2009


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