Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Figures showing declining birth rates are ‘cause for celebration’, not alarm

Posted by yurble 
Finally, someone - a population expert - expresses a positive view to falling fertility rates.


Declining fertility rates around the world should be cause for celebration, not alarm, a leading expert has said, warning that the focus on boosting populations was outdated and potentially bad for women.

Recent figures revealed that, globally, women now have on average 2.4 children in their lifetime a measure known as total fertility rate (TFR). But while in some countries that figure is far higher – in Niger it is more than seven – in almost half of countries, including the UK, Russia and Japan, it has fallen to below two.

Such declines have been met with alarm, with some warning that the “baby bust” puts countries at risk of a depopulation disaster.

But Sarah Harper, former director of the Royal Institution and an expert on population change, working at the University of Oxford, said that far from igniting alarm and panic falling total fertility rates were to be embraced, and countries should not worry if their population is not growing.

Harper pointed out that artificial intelligence, migration, and a healthier old age, meant countries no longer needed booming populations to hold their own. “This idea that you need lots and lots of people to defend your country and to grow your country economically, that is really old thinking,” she said.

Having fewer children is also undoubtedly positive from an environmental point of view; recent research has found that having one fewer child reduces a parent’s carbon footprint by 58 tonnes of CO2 a year.


But Harper said fears that declines in total fertility rate would see countries fall behind were groundless.

“A smaller number of highly educated people in the knowledge economy of Europe will vastly outweigh increasing our population because automation is going to take over many of the tasks,” said Harper, pointing out that AI and robotics meant work was moving away from industrial jobs, and that effort needed to be directed towards education of the young, not boosting procreation.


As for dealing with an ageing society, more babies would not help much there, since children also needed to be cared for and would not enter the workforce for years.

“All the evidence is, that if families, households, societies, countries have to deal with large numbers of dependants, it takes away resources that could be put into driving society, the economy etc,” Harper said, adding that the “problem” of an ageing population also needed to be reconsidered, not least because technology to support dependants was advancing while people were staying in good health for longer. “It is much easier to enable older adults to stay upskilled and healthy and in the labour market than it is to say to women ‘oh you have got to have children’.”

Pretty fucking obvious to most of us, about time someone said it.

But, as always, this "population expert" has kids. In this case, three of them - which makes it look like a "do as I say, not as I do" argument.
Its true that when population is smaller the quality of life goes upwards. Sometimes it seems like breeders want to live in a world where people always had large families and lived in one room houses and women had to stay at home. What else do they mean when they suggest we "need more and more kids to keep the workforce up"?
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login