Babyless Recession?


Crying over his share of the national debt

Well, not entirely babyless. After all, several of my esteemed colleagues have spawned recently (hearty congratulations!). But they are going against a lower fertility trend says a new forecast by the business consultancy Demographic Intelligence. As the company's press release explains:

The sluggish economic recovery is continuing to drive down total births in the United States in 2012, according to the July edition of the U.S. Fertility Forecast from Demographic Intelligence. Moreover, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in the U.S. is predicted to fall to a 25-year low this year, 1.87 children per woman, from a recent high of 2.12 per children per woman in 2007.

The ongoing decline in total births is particularly striking because the Echo Boom generation, the children of the Baby Boomers, is moving into childbearing age. This means that the number of women in their prime childbearing age is now surging, which should have led to an increase in the overall number of children born each year. But this baby boomlet has so far failed to materialize because today's young adults are concerned about their current employment status and future economic prospects.

The report notes that American women still intend to bear 2.2 children on average when the economy improves.

The direction of population trends (either up or down) has been a favorite topic of prophets of doom for centuries. For the possible edification of H&R readers, I point to my take-down of the silly doomster novel Ishmael. Bonus: The novel's protagonist is a telepathic gorilla who is channeling the world's most strident and least accurate doomster, Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich is the author of the spectacularly wrong, The Population Bomb. How wrong?

Here's a nice doomsaying prophecy from the 1968 edition*:

"The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash program embarked upon now."

*Always cite the 1968 edition, because by the 1971 edition Ehrlich had changed his apocalytic prediction without acknowledging it to "In the 1970s and 1980s…." Of course, even that modified prediction was wrong.

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  1. Those children were all potential burdens on the state as it is. (Especially those 0.2 ones.)

    1. No, they’re the ones who will keep Social Security “solvent”…

  2. oh no! less suckers being born every minute.

  3. I have got to find a trend that I can spin into a DOOM scenario to write a book about.

    Then I can make millions and get invited to conferences and live off the gravy train forever.

    1. Try ‘teh libertardians are taking over!’ You could claim inside knowledge of The Protocols of The Elders of Rand or something, but that you’ve seen the progressive light. Trust me, they’ll eat it up.

    2. A: The editor of my first book, Eco-Scam flat out told me when he agreed to publish it: “Ron, we’re going to publish your book and we’re both going to make some money. But I want to tell you that if you had brought me a book predicting the end of the world, I could have made you a rich man.” True story.

      1. So is that a perpetual invitation, or has the ship of doom-saying/buck-raking sailed?

      2. So, you’re working on your “End of the World” book now?

        1. And I feel fine.

      3. So, you are one of those weirdos who has principles or something? 😉

        1. I suspect in another generation or two the concept of principles will just about be bred out of existence. It is fast become more hindrance than help.

          1. Who needs principles when you have doubleplusgood duckspeak?

        2. g: Either that or just too stupid.

          1. It o.k. we’re libertarians. We’ll castigate you for selling out but since it’s for money we’ll understand.

            Let’s see global warming combined with solar flares causing a crash of the electrical grid and a lack of potable water. That should about do it.

            There’s also peak oil, supervolcanos, a new ice age after the warm up. I guess what I’m saying is you can choose the form of the destructor.

            1. The stay-puft marshmallow man probably won’t sell, though. A little too far-fetched.

          2. You could write a book about how the welfare state is going to bring about the end of Wester Civilization.

            In fact, I think I’ll start writing one now.

  4. I didn’t father that.

  5. I’ll spare Tony the trouble of posting on this thread, and just say “Good. Filthy goddamn breeders need to stop pumping out the units, anyway.”

  6. Children are awfuls things, unless properly grilled.

  7. No wonder the CPSC just banned buckyballs! They were the only thing stopping this scourge of children and now they’re gone forever.

  8. It has nothing to do with the economy. It has to do with the dearth of good baby-makin’ music.

    Jus’ sayin’

  9. There’s probably in book in the story of how bad (evil and incompetent) government killed X million people in the last century and is poised to do it all again.

    1. English much?

      1. Or, my personal favorite, “English, muthafucka, do you speak it??”

  10. Could this have to do with the Central and South Americans that are returning home (because there are no jobs here)?

    It is a fact that they have higher birth rates. Just a thought. (Or is it too un-PC even for Reason to suggest such a hypothesis?)

  11. I’ve had two kids so far during this extended recession. At the rate we’re going, all of my kids will be born during it.

  12. lol, Babies are over rated anyways lol.

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