A recent article from the BBC notes that world fertility rates are declining, yet there is stark contrast, because while rates are well below replacement in Europe and other parts of the Western world, they are exploding throughout Africa and the Middle East:
There has been a remarkable global decline in the number of children women are having, say researchers.
Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a “baby bust” – meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size.
The researchers said the findings were a “huge surprise”.
And there would be profound consequences for societies with “more grandparents than grandchildren”.
How big has the fall been?
The study, published in the Lancet, followed trends in every country from 1950 to 2017.
In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The fertility rate all but halved to 2.4 children per woman by last year.
But that masks huge variation between nations.
The fertility rate in Niger, west Africa, is 7.1, but in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus women are having one child, on average.
In the UK, the rate is 1.7, similar to most Western European countries.
How high does the fertility rate have to be?
The total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman gives birth to in their lifetime (it’s different to the birth rate which is the number of children born per thousand people each year).
Whenever a country’s rate drops below approximately 2.1 then populations will eventually start to shrink (this “baby bust” figure is significantly higher in countries which have high rates of death in childhood).
At the start of the study, in 1950, there were zero nations in this position.
Prof Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told the BBC: “We’ve reached this watershed where half of countries have fertility rates below the replacement level, so if nothing happens the populations will decline in those countries.
“It’s a remarkable transition.
“It’s a surprise even to people like myself, the idea that it’s half the countries in the world will be a huge surprise to people.”
Which countries are affected?
More economically developed countries including most of Europe, the US, South Korea and Australia have lower fertility rates.
It does not mean the number of people living in these countries is falling, at least not yet as the size of a population is a mix of the fertility rate, death rate and migration.
It can also take a generation for changes in fertility rate to take hold.
But Prof Murray said: “We will soon be transitioning to a point where societies are grappling with a declining population.”
Half the world’s nations are still producing enough children to grow, but as more countries advance economically, more will have lower fertility rates.
‘We’d rather give our daughter the best of everything’
Rachael Jacobs, 38, of Kent, had her first and only child seven years ago
I’d always focused on my career. When I was pregnant I was still focusing on my career.
I know now that we can survive on what we earn as a family and still go on holiday every year. If we had more than one child we couldn’t go on holiday.
We’d rather give our daughter the best of everything than have multiple children that we can just about feed and clothe.
My partner and I are also thinking about the future. We want to be in a position where we can help her financially with university or housing. I don’t want to ever have to say that she can’t go to a party or have a new Christmas jumper.
Why is the fertility rate falling?
The fall in fertility rate is not down to sperm counts or any of the things that normally come to mind when thinking of fertility.
Instead it is being put down to three key factors:
Fewer deaths in childhood meaning women have fewer babies
Greater access to contraception
More women in education and work
In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.
What will the impact be?
Without migration, countries will face ageing and shrinking populations.
Dr George Leeson, director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, says that does not have to be a bad thing, as long as the whole of society adjusts to the massive demographic change.
He told the BBC: “Demography impacts on every single aspect of our lives, just look out of your window at the people on the streets, the houses, the traffic, the consumption, it is all driven by demography.
“Everything we plan for is not just driven by the numbers in the population, but also the age structure and that is changing, so fundamentally we haven’t got our heads around it.”
He thinks workplaces are going to have to change and even the idea of retiring at 68, the current maximum in the UK, will be unsustainable.
The report, part of the Global Burden of Diseases analysis, says affected countries will need to consider increasing immigration, which can create its own problems, or introducing policies to encourage women to have more children, which often fail.
Report author Prof Murray argues: “On current trends there will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65 and that’s very difficult to sustain global society.
“Think of all the profound social and economic consequences of a society structured like that with more grandparents than grandchildren.
“I think Japan is very aware of this, they’re facing declining populations, but I don’t think it’s hit many countries in the West, because low fertility has been compensated with migration.
“At a global level there is no migration solution,” Prof Murray says.
But while the change may challenge societies, it may also have environmental benefits given the impact of our species.
What about China?
China has seen huge population growth since 1950, going from around half a billion inhabitants to 1.4 billion.
But it too is facing the challenge of fertility rates, which stood at only 1.5 in 2017, and has recently moved away from its famous one child policy.
The reason developed countries need a fertility rate of 2.1 is because not all children survive to adulthood and babies are ever so slightly more likely to be male than female.
But in China, the report shows for every 100 girls born there were 117 boys which “imply very substantial sex-selective abortion and even the possibility of female infanticide”.
There is a commonly used phrase that is very true, which is that “demographics is destiny.” It is often times used to discuss immigration and specifically, the changing demographics of the USA and Europe due to mass immigration from Africa and the Middle East, and even Asia. It is objectively true to state that mass immigration from any culture into another will change the “local” culture, and sometimes in ways that are irreversible. This is a fact that is observed throughout history, and is something that many people are rightly concerned about.
However, as with all issues, there are multiple facets to consider, of which this particular article shows one of them that I have emphasized for years, which is the utter lack of fertility in the “western” world.
God says in the Book of Genesis to man “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)
God invented sex. He invented it so that man and woman could generate new life and experience part of the wonder of God’s love while doing it as transmitted through a physical sensation.
God is not a eugenicist. He loves life and not death. Indeed, God hates death so much that He chose to partake of death in order to raise man to new life with Him.
The reason why the Catholic Church is so against birth control is because it is rooted in a philosophy of eugenics that will lead to horrors such as infanticide and homosexuality, because if reproduction can be separated from the act of generation, then the genitive act is just for indulging the lusts of man, and children are only as valuable as the parents’ desire for them. If the parents don’t want a child, therefore, what is to stop them on a philosophical lever from murdering the child? If sex without the possibility of new life is allowed, then what issue is there with homosexuality, an inherently sterile act?
The Western world, in spite of all the talk about “Christianity” and “our Western heritage,” has embraced eugenics for at least the last several centuries, and the consequences have been disastrous. The demographic decline is real and it is continuing, and it is directly tied to the “choice” that people believe they have not to reproduce for whatever reason.
There are many arguments about why people don’t have children, and most of them are utter garbage. Barring the very few cases that are a medical condition that physically impairs one from conceiving children- and I do not speak at all of those who say that a pregnancy carries “a risk to the life of the mother” -there is no excuse for the current refusal to reproduce.
If one genuinely believes one cannot have children because of real reason, then the answer is that one does not engage in the activities that produce children.
It’s that simple.
Am I saying it will be fun? No. I am saying that this is the way things are.
If one cares about one’s “Western heritage,” then one must also recognize that WESTERN PEOPLE are needed to fill the society. That means having more than 2 children per family on average.
Some people may say “what about overpopulation?” Aside from the fact that this is but a myth propagated by the English supporter of eugenics Thomas Malthus, when there is an “overconcentration” of population in one area, a portion of said population naturally “diffuses” into other areas. This could be either within the same nation, or it could be abroad.
In Spain and Portugal during the 16th century, there was a substantial population boom. Neither of the two nations starved, by their excess population went overseas and colonized the Americas, southern India, and parts of east Asia.
England took her excess population and sent them around the world. Thanks to that there is the existence of Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
France did the same thing, sending her people to the USA, Canada, parts of West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
Even nations such as Poland and Italy, who in modern history never possessed major global empires, sent their people to the USA and Canada, and established their own ethnic enclaves and permanently changed the character of their new lands in the same way that the people of Mexico and Central America are doing to the USA.
Excess population does not mean disaster. To the contrary, if one wants to approach it from an “aggressive” stance, it means an opportunity for cultural expansion.
The problem with the Western world is that while she is very wealthy, she is accustomed to and wants an ever-increasing standard of living for the common man, and the way to indulge in such luxuries is to have excess money, and since children cost money and luxuries with children cost even more money, they remove the children part so they can indulge in luxury.
Luxuries are nice, but man was not meant for luxury alone. He is meant for God, and God asks man to reproduce, and what happens is that man has chosen his luxuries over God’s desires for him, and in choosing sin, he has chosen death.
This is one of the biggest issues I have with the anti-immigration activists, because an overwhelming number of them are against people reproducing and coming to their areas when they refuse themselves to reproduce because they want to live what is an indulgent life.
If one cares about one’s society, one must put the people that one wants to have into it. The way this happens is almost universally through natural generation.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and will see to fill it. If a people refuses to fill their own area, then another people will come and fill it. Are those who fill it to be criticized for fulfilling what is the Biblical commission to be fruitful and multiply?
Some people will say that “people of low IQ are having too many children,” such as what the eugenicist Charles Murray argues. While this argument is driven by darwinian attitudes and is inherently rooted in eugenics-based prejudice, to argue that the “best and the brightest” have the fewest children is bunk because one would think that if IQ was genetics-based that one would want to have more high-IQ people in the world, and the best way to do that would be to have more children to pass on the “smart genes.” After all, why make one or two polyglots or polymaths when one could make seven or ten with just a roll in the bedsheets?
But the idea of IQ is just a distraction, because the real focus is a love of luxury, and a desire to solve one’s problems not by looking inward, but by blaming somebody else and then hurting them so the individual doesn’t have to address his actions that put himself into the situation he finds himself in.
A man’s faithfulness is shown by how he uses his money and reproductive functions. The West has been found lacking in both, all of it self-inflicted, and is why she is in the situation she is in.
To that extent, if one wants to “save the West,” one would consider having a family and expanding it through natural generation, for all societies are but reflections of the family be they good or bad.