John Stonestreet, Roberto Rivera, and David Carlson on If the Future Belongs to the Fertile, We Might Not Have a Future

A recent BBC headline claimed the world is facing a “jaw-dropping” global crash. Not an economic crash, mind you, but a crash in the birthrate. Citing a new study by University of Washington, the BBC article claims that “Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century.” In fact, 23 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Japan, and South Korea, could see their populations cut in half by 2100.

The same study found that, between 1950 and 2017, the global fertility rate went from 4.7 children per women to 2.4 and is expected to drop below 1.7 children per woman by 2100. For reference, a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is required to maintain a stable population.

A few suggested explanations for the drop, according to the BBC article, include “more women in education and work” and “greater access to contraception,” which leads “to women choosing to have fewer children.” Of course, the BBC was careful to offer the required nod to climate change, also suggesting that fewer people would result in lower carbon emissions and therefore help heal the planet.

In truth, however, the scenario is far from rosy.

“I think it’s incredibly hard to think this through and recognize how big a thing this [population crash] is,” says University of Washington Professor Christopher Murray. “It’s extraordinary, we’ll have to reorganize societies.”

In his book, What to Expect When No One Is Expecting, Weekly Standard digital editor Jonathan Last suggests that any country in which citizens aren’t having enough babies can look forward to long-term economic stagnation and social deterioration. After all, children are the economic engines of the future, both tomorrow’s labor force and tomorrow’s consumers.

Professor Murray described it this way to the BBC: “Who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work?”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet, Roberto Rivera, and David Carlson