MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Hooray! U.S. Fertility Rate Falls to 40-Year Low

Exercising reproductive freedom is a good thing.

StorkBabyJamesSteidlDreamstimeJames Steidl/DreamstimeThe U.S. fertility rate has fallen to a 40-year low, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The 2017 provisional estimate of fertility for the entire U.S. indicates about 3.85 million births in 2017 and a total fertility rate of about 1.76 births per woman," the pro-natalist Institute for Family Studies (IFS) notes. "These are low numbers: births were as high as 4.31 million in 2007, and the total fertility rate was 2.08 kids back then." The last time fertility in the U.S. fell this low was in the 1970s, when it reached a nadir of 1.74 births per woman in 1976.

The decline in the U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) mirrors a global trend. The world TFR fell from 5.1 children per woman in 1964 to 2.4 in 2016. The U.S. rate is now about the same as TFRs in most European countries. It is well below the population replacement TFR, which is generally calculated as 2.1 children per woman. If the current TFR is sustained and immigration is halted, U.S. population will begin to fall later in this century.

Between 2008 and 2016, the IFS reports, the fertility rate dropped from 2.15 to 1.89 among black women, from 2.85 to 2.1 among Hispanic women, and from 1.95 to 1.72 among non-Hispanic white women.

FallingFertilityIFSIFS

The continuing decline in the birth rate seems "inconsistent with the growing number of women of childbearing age," The New York Times notes. "In 2017, women had nearly 500,000 fewer babies than in 2007, despite the fact that there were an estimated 7 percent more women in their prime childbearing years of 20 to 39."

Back in 2014, I pointed out the strong correlation between women pursuing higher education and falling fertility rates. American women today earn around 60 percent of all college degrees. By age 31, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, almost 36 percent of women hold a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 28 percent of men. The Census Bureau notes that women with college degrees tend to have fewer children. That's why I concluded that the U.S. TFR probably would never again rise above the replacement rate.

Because time and money are limited, more Americans are exercising their reproductive freedom, making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That's a good thing.

Disclosure: My wife and I try not to flaunt our voluntarily child-free lifestyles.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    "Disclosure: My wife and I try not to flaunt our voluntarily child-free lifestyles."

    Massive failure there, even if the wife is succeeding.

    Have you looked at data on regret?

  • Mickey Rat||

    There is something strange about a Darwinist being proud of being an evolutionary failure.

  • Ron Bailey||

    MR: Unlike other creatures, human beings are no longer at the mercy of their genes. Humans engage in other forms of selection, including the propagation of memes, aka ideas. Most folks are remembered (if remembered at all) not for the children they produced, but for the ideas they birthed. As Ben Franklin more or less said:

    If you wou'd not be forgotten
    As soon as you are dead and rotten,
    Either write things worth reading,
    or do things worth the writing.

    I am not so big-headed as to think that my scribbling has so far made a big difference yet in the defense and spread of liberalism, but I remain hopeful. I made my choice and I am very happy with it.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Why do you care about being remembered?

  • Zeb||

    Why does anyone care about anything?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Without future humans to appreciate them, ideas are meaningless.

    Without humans who share your culture, your ideas may become discredited.

  • ||

    Unlike other creatures, human beings are no longer at the mercy of their genes.

    This is like saying humans are no longer at the mercy of gravity. Yes we are, gravity still applies and it was never really gravity that killed people as much as the impacts that gravity generated. Humans will likely always be at the mercy of natural selection, lest we become inhuman.

  • Zeb||

    Perhaps a better way to say it is that humans are less at the mercy of biological determinism than other animals. We do make a lot more decisions about how we are going to behave and reproduce. And we can make contributions to future generations without reproducing in ways that other creatures don't.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Granted, but a significant factor in being a popular writer is having a large audience that talks like you my *************.

  • Cloudbuster||

    The future belongs to those who show up for it. That doesn't include your genes. It's not looking like it will include much in the way of European genes at all -- definitely not the genes of urban professional Whites like yourself. Meanwhile Africa's population is expected to balloon to 4 billion by the end of the century. Do you suppose they will remember your ideas? I don't think so.

  • Michael Hihn||

    You progressives are TOTALLY full of shit on Paul Ehrlich's crazy-ass "population bomb."
    African birthrates will be NEGATIVE replacement in roughly 20 year, if the current declining birthrates continue. (For retards, that means DECLINING population)

    Growing wealth has been reducing birthrates for at least 300 years -- but you proggies HATE wealth,
    Or you're a Klansman, which is just as stupid.

  • vek||

    4 billion is on the high side for the estimates, but even lower estimates put it at 2-3 billion. Africa is the only part of the world still exploding. And dare i say it, but Africans don't give a flying fuck about any of the great ideas that have ever come out of Europe or Asia. So a world where half the population is African will have a very different feel to it than the world we live in today dominated by cultured European and Asian societies. That's just reality.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They're proud free riders, expecting to have a tolerable old age due to a next generation they did nothing to help create.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The first Progressives believed that upper class Brits were wealthy and educated, because they were "more fit". Upper-class class Brits also had smaller families to avoid splitting their estates. Progresses assumed that poor people were "less fit", and tried to fix the "problem" of "unfit" people having so many grandkids. They brought us the government eugenics programs that culminated in the Holocaust. They also brought us the immigration restrictions that prevented Eastern Europeans and Southern Europeans from moving into Appalachia during the 1930s.

    Eugenics became unpopular after World War II, but education remained as a vehicle for reducing the reproductive potential of low income families. Preserving a school district is a common justification for limiting the supply of homes in a town. Tuition costs encourage parents to have fewer kids. More and more jobs require degrees that are unnecessary for performing the job. Shakespeare never earned a degree in English.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Eugenics became unpopular after World War II

    That was BEFORE WWII. The 19th and earlier 20th centuries. When Hitler adopted it, that was the kiss of death.

    Educate yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_eugenics

  • tommyboy||

    Educate yourself, Hirn. The Wiki article you linked to has a whole section called marginalization after WWII. Did you even read it?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Did you even read it?

    Here are YOUR very first sentences

    "Beginning in the late 1920s, greater appreciation of the difficulty of predicting characteristics of offspring from their heredity, and scientists' recognition of the inadequacy of simplistic theories of eugenics, undermined whatever scientific basis had been ascribed to the social movement. As the Great Depression took hold, criticism of economic value as a proxy for human worth became increasingly compelling.[124] After the experience of Nazi Germany, many ideas about "racial hygiene" and "unfit" members of society were discredited.

    Did you hope to have a point????

  • vek||

    The problem is since then much research has been done... And it's proved that eugenicists were in fact correct about much. MANY character traits are inheritable to a large degree. Intelligence is 50-80% heritable depending on the study. That's simply in parent-child studies, I bet if you could go back to the grand parents or great grand parents you would be able to raise that rate a lot considering how many things are known to skip a generation etc.

    Eugenics is one of those things that isn't technically incorrect, it's just a moral issue. I am surely not in favor of mass murder or forced sterilization, but that also means that the less intelligent do in fact out breed the more intelligent. This is the reverse of how it was in pre 19th century European nations where the nobility tended to have more children that survived to adult hood and bred. Implications are perhaps not awesome long range, but things like designer babies may make it all a moot point anyway.

  • MichaelL||

    I would submit that the fertility rate is not likely decreased. The birth rate, and completed pregnancies, are likely down, with abortion continuing to be used as birth control. I have no doubt that without birth control many more teen girls would also have buns in the oven. But, the claim that the "fertility" has changed does not make any sense. I think that would be impossible to determine.

  • WillPaine||

    Darwin's theories (well, really can be said more than theory), applies to the animal world, of which we yes, are a part. There is a difference , as well as the sameness, between humans and animals. The animal challenges for land, and food, and mates; the human says: wow, there is enough for all, and let's be smarter than that, no? yes
    peace
    and don't eat corpses. The people who say kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, think they are bullet proof (and they think they are never going to die); YOU WILL LEAVE A BODY
    peace

  • Zeb||

    You can't really say someone has failed until you know what they were trying to accomplish.

    Also, I wonder if there is any kind of predisposition to not wanting to have children. In that case, such people failing to reproduce is a successful part of evolution. Weed out the genes that don't want to reproduce.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Genes that do not want to reproduce are an evolutionary fail, by definition.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Genes have no wants. Also, a gene is just a code for a protein, and does no more to define an organism than specifying cut pieces for a house frame does for specifying how the house will look.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Ok then, the genes of people who do mot want to reproduce are an evolutionary fail.

  • ThomasD||

    Hmm. Humans, it would seem, have an ability to exert control over their reproductive behavior that other organisms apparently do not.

    It would seem then that any sorts of discussions of human sexuality should not include examples taken from other organisms that do not demonstrate equal control over reproduction.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Human control.over their reproduction seems to be an anti survival trait, that is not standing up to the test of natural selection. The winners in that competition are the ones who have children who survive to reproduce.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Many, and perhaps most, animals exert control over their reproductive decisions. Have you ever walked in on a couple of pandas doing it?

  • Michael Hihn||

    That's because pandas must be in heat. God intended THEIR sex to be for procreation only.
    It is ONLY humans that God intended to receive so much joy from sex, even when procreation is impossible! Go forth and celebrate God's Eternal Blessing of human sex, For any purpose.

    Even masturbation.

  • soldiermedic76||

    I have found many people, including some scientist, don't understand the difference between genotype and phenotype.

  • Zeb||

    What's your definition of "evolutionary fail"?

    I don't really think there is anyt such thing. Evolution is neutral. Whatever happens happens. Those who fail to reproduce or choose not to are making their contributions to evolution by not passing on their genes.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Jesus was an evolutionary failure but a theological success. Different people have different goals in life, and a friend like Judas can be a buzz kill cock-blocker.

  • ||

    He was trying to not flaunt, Zeb.

  • Ron Bailey||

    S: As Woody Allen wisely quipped: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying." Natural selection is so Pleistocene!

  • StackOfCoins||

    I like the cut of your jib, Ron.

    I, for one, plan to live forever.

  • Procyon Rotor||

    So far, so good!

  • ThomasD||

    Life is what happens when you've made other plans.

  • Mickey Rat||

    A forlorn quip. Entropy always wins over the long haul.

  • ||

    "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."

  • Nardz||

    +1 ZH

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yeah. To each his own. Whatever family size couples choose, more power to them.

  • Star1988||

    Perhaps it is not really his choice at all. Could it not be an elegant natural way to terminate a defective gene pool?

  • Nardz||

    Would be an interesting natural (and metaphysical) response to the wrenches tech throws into a species' evolution.
    "An arrow (/bullet) doesn't distinguish between the brave man and the coward."
    -quote found in Thucydides

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They did have bullets back then, too. That's what you threw with slings.

  • albo||

    No, this sucks. Who's going to pay for all the debt? Who's going to change my adult diaper?

    And even more, how many future Einsteins and Newtons won't be born because some affluent couple settles for That One Perfect Child or no kids at all?

    Your genes will be very disappointed in you.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Affluence is apparently not a survival trait.

  • albo||

    We're going to become Japan and be a nation of elderly served by robots.

  • Zeb||

    Not unless we become as hostile to immigration as the Japanese.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    It's certainly going in that direction. When you have to wipe your own ass at age 80, I'll put my dentures in so I can say "I told you tho!"

  • TuIpa||

    "When you have to wipe your own ass"

    So, this is officially the dumbest arguement ever made for anything.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    Reddit laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs.

  • Mr Smeeth||

    Ummm, bidets? Are you people animals/MS-13?

  • m1shu||

    Fascinating that you feel the purpose of immigrants is to wipe your ass.

  • damikesc||

    I'm betting immigrants aren't going to have a big desire to help older natives.

    Call it a hunch.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    What, no immigrants are going to take jobs in long-term care?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    When was the last time you saw a foreigner working as a nurse? I'll wait.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Seriously? Have you ever been to a nursing home? In many areas it's hard to find nurses and assistants that speak English as a first language.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Seriously? Have you ever been to a nursing home?

    Are you inviting us to visit you? What are the visiting hours?

    That's not as bad as your wacky claim on African birthrates.

    Quite the racist.

  • TuIpa||

    Ask Stan Lee about that.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Oh, I'm sorry, we're going to become Mexico, instead. Obviously much better, given the direction of immigration between our two countries.

  • John||

    Bailey actually sees that as a future worth having.

  • Ron Bailey||

    All: Not served by robots, but be merged with our robots.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Google's AI guru predicts humans and machines will merge within 20 years

    It's always 20 years off with these "gurus".

  • Mr Smeeth||

    Powered by fusion.

  • DenverJ||

    Didn't know you were a member of the club, Ron. *does secret handshake*

  • ||

    *does secret handshake*

    Secret handshake failed.

    No compatible ciphers found.

  • ||

    Is tea enough to make the Japanese count as British Asians, and would adopting their ways mean the Britsh won?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Also, don't you know that all those unskilled, illiterate people from south of the border will take care of everything? This is why we need to abandon our sovereignty.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I love how you all have conflated "closed borders" with "maintaining sovereignty". That just isn't the case.

    There is no inherent contradiction in believing in open borders, and in believing in national sovereignty. There is no prescription that "sovereignty" means demanding that everyone crossing a border must have the correct papers. Sovereignty just means the extent of a government's jurisdiction. A government that chooses to exercise its jurisdiction in a manner that expands liberty (free movement of people), would still be just as sovereign as a government that chooses to exercise its jurisdiction in a manner that constrains liberty (demanding papers from harmless people).

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Another way to put it:

    Think of a municipal park. The city government exercises sovereignty over this park. Yet in most parks there are no walls, there is no one demanding the correct papers for the legal permission to be in the park, there is free movement of people to and fro. In this case, sovereignty just means that those in the park are subject to the rules that the city has established for the park. But sovereignty doesn't demand that the city erect a wall around the park.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Ok, now do a metaphor where you hand everyone who walks into the park $100

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Is this where you complain about immigrants getting welfare? Good, I'm right there with you. Immigrants shouldn't get welfare. That's part of the rules of the "park". I agree with these rules. Got something else?

  • inoyu||

    One of our rules is that people with communicable diseases can not enter our "park". Another rule is that people must enter in an orderly manner and comply with rules pertaining to entering our "park".

  • Michael Hihn||

    Your park must be run by a total gangster.
    Like Trump

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Because time and money are limited,

    Yeah, but our money is even more limited by the taxes we pay. What would fertility look like if famlies were paying 1950's style taxes or how about 1920?

  • JFree||

    Probably the same as it is now. Taxes themselves are prob far less important than what those taxes are spent on. In the US where we spend on the elderly - yeah it matters - but its the spending side of that that matters

    Far more important - and explaining the rapid decline over the last 10 years - is housing affordability and job opportunities for 20-somethings

  • target||

    it sounds like it would be a better investment for a 20 something to spend $50K and 1 year on supplies and perconally building a house, instead of $50k and 2-4 years getting a useless degree.

  • JFree||

    Maybe. But interest rate subsidies and proptax distortions (all of which benefit the older gens) make that impossible in some of the cities with the better job possibilities for 20-somethings:

    Price of raw land for a median size home in 2016:

    Miami - $216k
    Dallas - $75k
    Denver - $136k
    San Francisco - $1,100k (Oakland is 620k; Sacramento is $145k)
    DC - $250k
    Boston - $346k
    NY - $250k (seems low to me - maybe burbs)
    Phoenix - $92k
    Seattle - $268k
    LA - $483k
    San Jose - $934k

    Land is still doable/affordable in much of the country - but job prospects for non-college grads suck - for millennials in 2014, avg income of $28k and 12.2% unemployment w HS only v $46k income and 3.8% unemployment for college grad.

    There's a good reason that generation had to live at home for so long. And our debt loads will just make things worse in future with no hope of ever getting better. Bailey is just wrong about this being some 'choice'. It is a consequence. this gen pays the price

  • target||

    yeah, definitely can't pull it off inside a major city, maybe more likely in a suburb of one.

    As a personal anecdote, my sister is now $50k in student debt for a masters that will only get her a middling income, and that is only if she moves to an overpriced big city which defeats the purpose. Without any job prospects, she is back in school, only this time, she is going to a vocational school with ties to actual careers, and costs a fraction of a normal college. I did likewise and have had a stable career now for 15 years with no debt starting out.

    I won't argue the statistics of college vs not, but every time I hear that statistic I have to question if it's the actual college education + script that makes the difference, or is it just that those that have the drive and motivation to go to/through college have a higher tendency to climb the career ladder.

  • target||

    I agree that this generation is paying a price for past generations, but I can only see it getting worse for the next ones. School itself has become a trap for students, a jobs program for government, and a money fountain for administrations. Govt puts out the idea that anything less than a college education is child neglect, institutes laws to make entrepreneurship damn near impossible, gives out loans that can't be defaulted on to insure constant work for educators, and a guaranteed income stream. Schools see all this available money and jack up prices. Employers are overloaded with college degrees and make it a minimum requirement out of the sheer availability. So now this generations college degrees are no greater than past generations HS degrees, only now they have a huge debt starting out and are still only likely to get the same type of jobs. The worst part of the whole thing is that you can educate yourself for free via internet classes, programs, and books, but some otherwise useless college granted script

  • target||

    * I meant that you can educate yourself, but still can't be hired without the otherwise useless script

  • buybuydandavis||

    Another way Open Borders are paving the way to population replacement.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Yeah, but our money is even more limited by the taxes we pay. What would fertility look like if famlies were paying 1950's style taxes or how about 1920?
    Only a Milo would connect this to taxes.
    Or any anti-gummint goober.
  • Mickey Rat||

    An increase in human capital is a great thing for society. Except in the native born population, apparently.

  • John||

    And freedom means making a choice Ron likes. Believing in freedom makes no judgment about what people do with that freedom. Why is people choosing to not have children a good thing? And what does the answer to that have to do with freedom?

    Like all transhumanists, Ron seems to want to improve humanity because he dislikes it so much. I honestly cannot understand thinking people no longer having children is some great thing to be celebrated. Such a view is the result of being a Malthusian, which Bailey isn't, or just disliking humanity and being happy to see it going away.

  • Zeb||

    Or he just thinks that whatever people choose do do voluntarily is a good thing. I don't see anything he wrote that suggests he has any problem with people who choose to reproduce more.

  • Mickey Rat||

    A reproduction rate below replacement levels is a sign of an upcoming disaster, albeit perhaps a slow motion one.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's a good thing there are so many people coming into the country from elsewhere then.

  • John||

    Because the only reason other countries are different than this one is the magic of geography and has nothing to do with the people who live there

  • albo||

    And when these immigrants get rich like the natives, they'll have fewer kids just like us. That's what affluence does--just look at Europe. It's an Iron Law.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Like how fantastic it was when the Byzantines were replaced by Ottoman Turks?

  • StackOfCoins||

    Trends can be reversed. Technology is always advancing.

    In some hypothetical future where no one fucks, there is always cloning.

  • John||

    Yes. If nothing else the people predisposed not to have children die out and are replaced by the children of those who do. Also, dying old and childless is a fairly nasty flate especially if you do not have a large extended family. The experience of watching people die old and alone will likely convince a lot of people to have children. Humanity is going to refuse to have children itself out of existence. This like all things shall pass

  • StackOfCoins||

    First, I wasn't endorsing your viewpoint. Are you saying you are in favor of cloning as a method of replacing populations?

    Also, dying old and childless is a fairly nasty flate especially if you do not have a large extended family.

    By what measure? Dying penniless is probably not a fun thing, but dying old sounds like a win. Whether or not having children is a positive is an entirely subjective measure. Some people want them, some don't.

  • John||

    I really don't give a shit if you are endorsing my position. And dying old and alone sucks for most people. The evidence of that is overwhelming and obvious. If you think it is a great fate, good luck. But that just says something about you not the rest of the world

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    And dying old and alone sucks for most people.

    Wait a second, when did you have children?

  • StackOfCoins||

    Protip: We all die alone. Having some people in the bleachers doesn't change that.

  • The_Hoser||

    Tell me that again when you're 85, your wife's been dead for 10 years and you're sitting in a retirement community.

  • jm15xy||

    See Europe, Japan.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    A reproduction rate below replacement levels is a sign of an upcoming disaster, albeit perhaps a slow motion one.

    Only if you view "success" and "failure" in the context of a collective.

  • Mickey Rat||

    A person who feels no connection or interest in the success people outside of himself is a damaged human being.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    That isn't what I said. Judging "success" and "failure" by some collectivist standard is not the correct standard. If you choose to have kids, that's "success" for you. If Ron chooses not to have kids, that's "success" for him.

  • Libertymike||

    Zeb, there is merit to what both you and John write.

    Myself, I can't help but see the irony in Ron's decision meshing with the vision of Paul Ehrlich.

  • John||

    That is not true. Choosing it does not make it a good or bad thing. There are plenty of choices Ron dislikes. He believes in freedom of religion but actively loathes religion and would never celebrate people becoming more religious. He celebrates the choice not to have children because he likes it not because he endorses any choice people have the freedom to make.

  • Ron Bailey||

    Z: What you said.

  • John||

    So you believe in freedom of religion right? Would you ever write an article celebrating the growth of religion?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I'm not religious, but I endorse that choice for most people. In part because I can tolerate someone with faith much more easily than some smug, bitter atheist. They're the worst. The irony being that many of them treat atheism like a religion.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Well, that sounds about right for the modern Right. You'll support freedom of religion only as long as the religious folk don't annoy you as much as the atheists do. Such a principled defense of liberty!

  • John||

    I am taking about Ron

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I am talking about Elias.

  • Nardz||

    Ron is exceedingly mediocre, yet presumes a right to immortality - hence the resentment against all that stand out and tbe desire to see competition end.
    Ron Bailey is entirely unremarkable, but props for getting paid to promote that averageness.
    Perfection is not the main enemy of the good - mediocrity is.

  • John||

    I honestly cannot fathom how someone could be so foolish as to want immortality in this life.

  • Eric Bana||

    Yeah, John. Heaven will be so great. I don't think you should be so loose-lipped about calling people foolish.

  • Zeb||

    Everyone has a right to whatever they can get through non-coercive means.

    I don't share Ron's enthusiasm for transhumanism. But that's just me.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Out of curiosity, is there any effective strategy for increasing birth rates that's "libertarian"? I can think of some strategies, but most boil down to "use government money to make it easier to have kids", and the first three words are upsetting to y'all.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    How about letting families, keep more of their own money. That might mean they could live comfortably with only one wage-earner, so they wouldn't take an income hit when kids came along.

    Also libertarians have plenty of ideas of getting rid of public schools which would liberate families from opppresive property taxes.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I know taxes are a pet issue for y'all, but it's not taxes that drive the need for two-income households. Similarly, if you're paying property taxes, then you're already doing better than most financially and aren't holding off on kids for that reason.

    Which is to say sure those are libertarian ideas, but they wouldn't be effective at boosting birth rates.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Get the government out of regulating the biomedical industries. Would take the jitters out of investing in radical population-saving technologies like cloning.

    Bring on the Mini-Mes. I'd prefer a clone to some crapshoot of genes. Mine are vetted.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Novel. I like it. Also meant that the "biological clock" is a thing of the past and scales nicely with elongated life spans, allowing would-be parents to choose the right time without having to worry that they've "waited too long".

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    With a middle class tax burden around 40% one spouse is effectively a slave of the state. Seems to me, that that reality drives a need for 2 incomes and makes having kids, and the inevitable loss of income, a significant challenge for a lot of people. And by the way, everybody pays property taxes. Some pay directly and others as a portion of their rent but Everybody Fucking Pays property taxes so I'm not sure you have an argument there.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    It will also liberate them from free babysitting.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    "Strategy" implies massive propaganda or government coercion. Your call.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Hence the question. I'm curious if y'all have any effective solutions.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    Effective solutions for something humans have been handling successfully for thousands of years?

    I have yet to be convinced there's a problem to be solved.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The only "libertarian" solution is immigration. That low birth rate is well below the replacement rate, so our population would have been declining for nearly a decade, without immigration. The impact on FICA taxes paid by our kids and grandkids could be severe -- which hasn't been an issue since the early 80s, when Social Security was facing certain bankruptcy.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    I would think the "Libertarian" solution would not concern itself with saving Social Security.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That was over 30 years ago. Today, for different reasons, it's to avoid the guaranteed huge tax increase on our kids and grandkids

  • ThomasD||

    Not a libertarian argument.

    That is a utilitarian argument.

    But I am not surprised you don't know that.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Doing things to keep taxes low is ... a utilitarian argument
    Believing one can "wish" away Social Security and Medicare is delusional - and authoritarian.
    Being in severe denial is hardly a sound tactic for evolving a free society

  • Mickey Rat||

    Of course that is only a solution for your society if you assimilate the immigrants into your culture, otherwisre you are asking for your society to be replaced rather than rescued.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Forbidding immigrants will cause Americans to be replaced by .... leprechauns?
    Elementary school arithmetic concludes that large FICA tax increases on workers are inevitable,, if rhe number of workers is severely reduced ... unless we murder enough retirees to maintain the ratio of workers/retirees.

  • lulz farmer||

    Import demographics that are net takers and non-payers to prop up a ponzi economy. Brilliant. Reason dot com folks.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    What do you not understand? Self-organized spontaneous people do not have this problem you allege. Strategy implies some external guiding force, and that is the opposite of libertarian.

    You may as well ask if there are any ways to get people to eat more that don't involve propaganda or coercion.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    Strategy is, by definition, an internal guiding force. Corporation do strategic planning to best defend and/or improve their own outcomes. Military strategy does the same.

    To intentionally refuse a strategy is to intentionally be unprepared -- thus at the mercy of external forces. .
    How did that work for General Custer?

  • Hugh Akston||

    End the licensing requirements for daycare centers and providers so daycare is cheaper, make your company more friendly to telecommuting and flextime so people can spend more time at home, fund public education through vouchers rather than a government monopoly so education is less expensive and more diverse, end the federal subsidy for higher education so schools will actually have to compete on price as well as quality.

    But no matter what you do, you can't change the fact that raising kids is way more expensive than not doing so. And there is a strong correlation between a more educated populace and lower birthrates, so more freedom is usually going to lead to lower birthrates.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Okay, some of those sound like they might actually work. I'm skeptical that you can turn back the clock in expensive daycare even if you abolished all regulation, but it might.

    The telecommute/flex one is pretty vague though. I assume you wouldn't want any gov incentives to do so, which leaves millennials saying "we want this" and I don't have to imagine how that'd go over with y'all.

    The education ones don't sound likely to me. Of all benefits of vouchers, "promote birth rate" seems more then a little tenuous. Taking an axe to college *might* work, as education correlates with fewer children, but I think the trade-off of quality for quantity might not be the best. Throw in that if college loans are harder to get, that puts parents right back to "each kid is very expensive if I want to push then up to middle-class".

  • ||

    Stop supporting anti-child/ anti-family policies.

  • ||

    Out of curiosity, is there any effective strategy for increasing birth rates that's "libertarian"?

    No, there isn't.

    Because the notion that "We" need to collectively do something about "perceived problem x" is fundamentally not how the libertarian paradigm works.

    Out of curiosity, why is "increasing birth rates" a priori a necessary goal that "We" need "effective strategies" for?

  • John||

    It isn't. People will naturally have kids on their own. If they didn't, there would be no human race. If they are not, that is pretty good evidence something is amiss and is preventing people from doing what they prefer to do. And that something always involves government interfering with things. Ron can't see that because he is too self centered to understand his preferences might not be normal

  • ||

    I'm pinning my hopes on the artificial uterus.

  • Zeb||

    End child labor laws. Children used to eb a productive asset. Now trhey are just a liability.

    I'm not actually in favor of having children working in the salt mines, but I think it is part of the reason why people have fewer children now.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    It's the exact opposite. Go back to an agrarian society where children were "workers" (wealth)
    As real wealth increases the families get smaller. It continues as the wealth comes also from spouses working, then seeking a career or profession, as it evolves upward. .Neanderthals, who want to chain women in the kitchen, are also a dying breed -- in part because so few women would marry one.

    Liberation liberates. Everyone.

  • m1shu||

    Maybe it's the "child is a burden" propaganda has to go. Most people don't choose to do what they want to do. Now the latest corporate hype is having everyone work in an environment resembling a German beer hall. Do you really think sitting right next to someone crunching on nuts all day is human fulfillment? It's hype and propaganda, not "freedom".

  • lulz farmer||

    Real wealth hasn't increased for the average person. It's gone down despite massive leaps and bounds in productivity. The reason for sagging birth rates is that only the very rich and the very poor (subsidized by handouts) can afford family formation now.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    "Real wealth hasn't increased for the average person"

    When you graduate elementary school ....

  • lulz farmer||

    Boomers like to think that because they have these cheap junky gadgets like Smartphones in their pockets that we're better off than we used to be. "In my day I had to walk uphill through the snow to school, both ways!"

    Sorry though, gramps. The day when you could work a part-time summer job to pay your way through school is long gone. You can't do that anymore. The pay is still about the same as it used to be 40+ years ago when you were young, but the cost of living has gone way up. This despite marked increases in productivity.

  • Michael Hihn||

    You're even crazier than Wyatt thought.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Stop policies that make it harder to build a family:
    Open Borders - drives down wages, drives up housing prices
    Taxes, regulations - cuts usable income, drives down economic growth

  • lap83||

    Because time and money are limited, more Americans are exercising their reproductive freedom, making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That's a good thing.

    You may not be aware of how many people are making that tradeoff without thinking about the limits of time at all...meaning they think they can put off having kids indefinitely, especially women. They might assume they can have children at some undetermined point in the future and "lean in" now. Then before they know it they're 40 and maybe their career and leisurely lifestyle isn't fulfilling anymore. So they really want to have kids but it's a lot more difficult, even with IVF. Don't assume that everyone thinks like you.

  • John||

    Don't assume everyone thinks like you is good advice that Reason rarely follows

  • Qsl||

    Ya, stating that the more affluent aren't having more children doesn't really address why they aren't having more children.

    I'd hazard more affluence means spending more time in school during prime child rearing years. There is also declining marriage rates, and people waiting until they are much older to get married.

    Nor has anyone looked at what portion of the native population are having children. From my own anecdotal evidence, these are not the people you want having even more kids.

    And a lot of this boils down to excessive regulation- from degree inflation, excessive licensure, and even putting the curb to entrepreneurship.

    I mean given the uncertainty with the future, would you want to bring a child into this world?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Don't get me wrong, I #StandWithPP and all, but falling fertility rates across the board can be seen as a problem. A population with too many elderly people and not enough young people is not an ideal situation. Fortunately there is an obvious solution: unlimited immigration.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    I get the spam, but since other are serious:

    1. A primarily white English speaking body of retirees being supported by a heavily taxed working class of a different ethnicity isn't a stable situation. Human nature.

    2. Look at Europe. They import people for the same reason, then the Europeans reject assimilation and go into "they're taking ur jerbs!!" mode (no, that isn't just American Republicans), so they are creating a new underclass.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    1. A primarily white English speaking body of retirees being supported by a heavily taxed working class of a different ethnicity isn't a stable situation. Human nature.

    Why not, precisely?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Because they don't have enough connection to the retirees to be willing to support them, of course.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    The taxes would be MUCH higher without what I assume you mean immigrants as the workers. How many in Trump's base realize they are dooming their own children to an even more crushing tax burden?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Spoken like the good little hihnsock who doesn't understand the inherent flaw of all Ponzi schemes.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    I don't know what a hihnsock is, and you don't understand Ponzi schemes beyond perhaps a few slogans.

    If the number of suckers declines sharply -- and the spending is the same -- then the taxes inevitably increase. Simple math. But Ponzi had no power of taxation, which is why he had to use fraud. If he was government, he could just take it. The public and private sectors cannot be compared that way.

    Plus Ponzi's revenues were 100% voluntarily given. FICA taxes are not voluntary, which is why the tax increases are guaranteed.

  • lulz farmer||

    What if I told you that your taxes would be lower without these people because they are a net drain on the system--and that's in known, quantifiable costs. Costs we can't as neatly quantify such as how much property damage, the total fiscal impact of crime and so on these people commit (at rates sometimes exponentially higher than us) are harder to nail down but still exist.

    Then of course there's the fact that more of your tax money will go towards the diversity lobby to make sure these people get plenty of handouts, set-asides, exemptions and special treatment at your children's expense since they are the new first class citizen to your children's second class citizen status.

  • damikesc||

    Because time and money are limited, more Americans are exercising their reproductive freedom, making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That's a good thing.

    Except for the many women who get really bitter when they wait a long time to get pregnant and find themselves unable to become pregnant.

    But, hey, it's all good. Sure, much of the global economy is based around young helping to support the old, but hey --- who needs THAT?

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    I view this as a net positive, too. Let me explain:

    80% of people vote the same way their parents did. While cosmotarians and progtards are patting themselves on the back for their child-free lifestyles, the alt-right sites are featuring columns and podcasts dedicated to starting families, raising children, etc.

    As they say, the future belongs to those who show up for it. Three guesses as to who's going to show up and who isn't.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    That's what public schools are for - to stop that.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Those alt-right sites are driven mostly by their "need" to expand the white race. Clearly, those websites are failing to increase birth rates enough to offset the decline. There aren't enough of them to make much of a difference. Thank goodness.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    While in the aggregate the birth rate may be declining, not all populations within it necessarily are. Some of them are cranking out kids like there's no tomorrow. See Mormons, for example.

  • John||

    The future belongs to those who show up

  • Michael Hihn||

    The aggregate is all that matters, for this context.

    Utah's birthrate is falling faster than the US overall, but starting from a higher number. Utah is also now at it's lowest birthrate ever, with average family size of course also shrinking.

    Salt Lake Tribune
    Nationally, the birthrate slipped to 12.5 births per 1,000 people in 2014. That's a 13 percent drop from the peak in 2007. In Utah, the birthrate fell to 17.4 births per 1,000 people in 2014. That's an 18 percent decline from the peak in 2007.

    Nationally, the average family size decreased to 3.26 people in 2014, down 11 percent from 3.65 in 1960. In Utah, however, the average family size dropped to 3.65 people in 2014, down 9 percent from 3.99 in 1960.

    The difference isn't all that great in family size.. The decline was faster, 8.6% vs

  • Michael Hihn||

    AKKK Ignore that final sentence fragmernt, "The decline was faster 8,6% vs"

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Are you really counting on Mormons to become a hotbed constituency of alt-rightism?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Are you really counting on Mormons to become a hotbed constituency of alt-rightism?

    Puller apparently believes so. And, of course, African Americans will be seeking membership in the KKK.

  • buybuydandavis||

    There was a book and a symposium on how the liberal atheism wasn't reproducing, and conservative theism was. The future belongs to those who show up for it.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    Then why are atheists increasing and the committed religious declining?

    "No religion" has nearly quadrupled since 1991. That's not all atheists, it also includes the growing trend of Christians who abandon organized religion, don't attend church, and follow Christ's Sermon on the Mount to pray in a closet and not make a public spectacle of your faith.

  • Libertymike||

    Ron's view is not compatible with the 14 words.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Who tells Trump? Our birthrate has been well below the replacement rate for several years. That means US population would be shrinking,

    If not for immigrants. So what does that mean for the FICA taxes your kids and grandkids will be forced to pay?

    In the very early 1980s, with the genuine concern about Social Security going bankrupt, a popular projection was that we'd soon have only two workers per retirees. An Assistant Treasury Secretary demolished the fear by saying the economy could not survive with that ratio. Long before we reached it, he said, we'd increase immigration sharply. Birth rates are leading us to the same unstable ratio of workers/retirees.

    Who tells Trump?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "Long before we reached it, he said, we'd increase immigration sharply. "

    Immigrants retire and die too.

  • Michael Hihn||

    But pay taxes during their life, that would otherwise not exist. The same math that cuts taxes for our kids and grandkids -- while they're all still working -- leaves a base that also supports them.

    In the aggregate, as wealth and income increase, birthrates drop, for a few hundred years now.. The entire world will have a negative replacement rate in less than 25 years. if current trends continue, which will be too late to increase immigration.

  • lulz farmer||

    They don't actually pay taxes, though. Global south, black and brown populations are net drains on the economy in known, quantifiable costs. They take more out of the system than they put in. I understand that the people who fund libertarian think tank wonks benefit individually from perverse incentives, though, so shilling for the mass migration and scab labor is good for them.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Immigrants and niggers don't pay taxes. Who knew?

  • lulz farmer||

    Being hysterical about data doesn't make that data wrong. The only demographics that are net payers are Whites and east Asians like Japanese. Don't like it? Don't care. If you're not going to base your worldview on reality, that's your problem.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It proves how hysterical you are.

    They don't actually pay taxes, though.

    AND that you probably wear your white hood everywhere.

    Your redneck goobers are at the bottom also.

  • lulz farmer||

    It's telling that mental children like yourself can only resort to ad hominem about people you don't know anything about. If anyone is some kind of offensive stereotype of a "goober" here, it's you and your poorly written, no-info posts where you cry your little crocodile tears about people bringing up inconvenient facts.

    You can go live the brown future you want today; move to a Brazil and live in a favela in Rio. We can both have what we want.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's telling that mental children like yourself can only resort to ad hominem about people you don't know anything about.

    I commented on your words, not your person.
    And you lied about them paying taxes.
    How large is your Klavern?

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Again, it's illegal immigration he's against (as most people are). And they don't pay taxes no matter what Reason thinks.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Again, it's illegal immigration he's against

    "Again?"
    He has, of course, called for a 60% cut in legal immigration

  • KevinP||

    Unfortunately, our current immigration profile is only making the situation worse:

    Report: More than half of immigrants on welfare


    Quote:
    About 51% of immigrant-led households receive at least one kind of welfare benefit, including Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches and housing assistance, compared to 30% for native-led households… Those numbers increase for households with children, with 76% of immigrant-led households receiving welfare, compared to 52% for the native-born.
  • buybuydandavis||

    Shhhhh!

    Doesn't fit The Narrative!

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    How is that relevant to the issue here? Did you support last year's tax cut, an entitlement paid entirely by higher taxes on future generations? How is that different from welfare?.

  • croaker||

    When children are the club government beats you with, you don't bother having any.

  • Tony||

    "My wife and I try not to flaunt our voluntarily child-free lifestyles."

    It's appreciated nonetheless.

  • Tony||

    That might have come across as an insult. What I mean is, I appreciate childless couples. It means more people I can be friends with.

  • TuIpa||

    That will then invite you to lunch, which you will be happy about, until you find out they invited others, at which point you will throw a hissyfit and sulk

    / a story Tony actually told

  • Tony||

    Funny, I don't remember any of your stories.

  • TuIpa||

    I'm not surprised, people like you who are horrible think their horrible behavior is normal, so telling us you cancelled lunch with a friend when you found out other people were invited seems perfectly normal to you and doesn't stand out.

  • TuIpa||

    And honestly, what does it say about your cognitive abilities that you can't remember a story you proudly told the commentariat?

  • Tony||

    What does it say about your sanity that a story I don't remember has stuck in your craw for so long?

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    This is like Godzilla versus King Kong.

  • sarcasmic||

    More like Timmy vs Jimmy.

  • ||

    This is like Godzilla versus King Kong being acted out with miniature Lego figures.

    FTFY

  • Libertymike||

    Ah, Tony, doesn't it mean less people with whom you can be friends?

  • Mickey Rat||

    In theory. How many people really would want to be friends with Tony, who are not tedious themselves?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Until they get to know you, anyway.

  • Tony||

    I'm not everyone's cup of tea.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hooray for some, electoral troubles for others when certain pyramid schemes get wobbly.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The phrase "fertility rate" seems like a misnomer here.

  • lap83||

    People are trying and failing to have kids. It's a good thing!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    There's some evidence that suggests the new generations may not know how.

  • lulz farmer||

    Or that they only make enough money to on average live in dog kennel like accomodations with a half dozen other people and family formation is an out of reach pipe dream, but of course profits are up for those on the top and that's all that matters. They're making lots of money right now, so who cares about the consequences in the future? Just import more low IQ blacks and browns to make up the difference. Your country totally won't look and operate like Brazil or Turkey in another few decades. How do I know? America is magic dirt, my friend. It transforms these people into 100% pure Anglo-Saxons upon touching the dirt.

  • albo||

    Will the last human alive please turn off the lights so you don't run up the future electric bill for the evolved Rat People.

  • Jerryskids||

    Hooray! U.S. Fertility Rate Falls to 40-Year Low

    Exercising reproductive freedom is a good thing.

    Why would you equate not having children with reproductive freedom when that's only one side of the coin? What about those of us who want to have kids and can't? Where's our reproductive freedom? I mean, when I and my wife got married, we read a book and looked at some films on how to make a baby and we practiced the techniques diligently and yet for all the times we tried to make a baby, we only managed to make 3 and all three times it was my wife who wound up pregnant. Not once did I get to exercise my reproductive freedom to have a baby! We even tried going to a fertility clinic to find out why I wasn't getting pregnant and do you know what those bastards had the nerve to tell me? They told me men can't have babies! Can you believe that? In this day and age to blatantly discriminate against me in that way? And don't even get me started on the doctor I complained to about this discrimination who told me the problem was that I was too stupid to have a baby. What does my intelligence have to do with my inability to get pregnant? To sum up, until men have the same right to have babies as women do there can be no true reproductive freedom.

  • John||

    Maybe we have a society that makes it artificially hard to have children for those who want to? I am not saying we do but if we do, falling fertility rates are not a result of freedom.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Heh.

    To paraphrase someone more clever then I: "you have the right to reproduce. What you lack is the capacity"

    That said, I think last year they successfully performed a functional womb transplant. And elsewhere they did mad science and produced a viable egg without any genetic material from the egg donor. So give it a few years. Mad science is catching up.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'll bet no appreciates the no-child relationship more than Ron's wife.

    *rimshot*

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What Ron isn't telling us is that it's not so much a no-child relationship, it's a no hanky-panky relationship.

    *rimshot ii*

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Ron's next book: The End of Poon

    *rimshot iii*

  • Tony||

    A modest proposal for a win-win solution to everyone's problem. Conservatives are singularly preoccupied with the thought that white people might lose a couple notches of dominance of society relative to brown people, and liberals are concerned that conservatives will keep taking over government and making everyone's lives miserable.

    Breeding farms for white conservatives. Keem 'em pumping out members of the master race, but the children have to be taken away and educated properly by liberals.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yeah, that's called "the Foster Care system".

  • Procyon Rotor||

    Or "public school".

  • StackOfCoins||

    Imagine a world where every parent has to pay for the privilege of having the afternoon to themselves.

    Probably about as effective as condoms for reducing birth rates.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Don't you understand that the stat that white people are having less kids than white elderly are dying, means that white people don't care about being dominant over non-white people?

    You lefties and your racist baiting nonsense.

  • Tony||

    If white people aren't paranoid about losing their status in society, then what's the entire history of American conservatism been about?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Shaming gay men into deceiving women and knocking them up before giving restroom blowjobs to undercover cops and senators?

  • Tony||

    Larry Craig got kind of a raw deal considering the gutter trash that followed him into politics, don't you think?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Can't say I've thought about Craig at all in years.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Freedom for them and their family?

  • Tony||

    Freedom from...

  • Tony||

    Let me help you, in roughly chronological order:

    Freedom from...

    Having to do manual labor.
    Having to pay people to do manual labor.
    Having to share facilities with black people.
    Having to think about the needs or interests of black people.
    Having to think of the needs or interests of Mexican people.
    Being anxious when Muslims are around.
    Having to watch a football player kneel for 2 minutes.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    All the things Tony thinks other people don't like when he is the one who doesn't like work, real work, black people, brown people, muslim people, and football people.

    Makes sense that Democrats fought for slavery, started the KKK, and enacted Jim Crowe laws.

  • Tony||

    Wait a minute. Say "China people." Are you actually that guy?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I've concluded that it's not so much that you're pro-immigration, you're just scared shitless that you'll have to take out your own garbage and vacuum your own rug. It's a softer kind of racism... buuut it's still kind of racist.

  • Tony||

    You know when I was a kid, and that wasn't like forever ago, all our servants were white, and they were like part of the family. Now teams of people come and go and aren't supposed to be seen or heard by guests. It's almost more old-fashioned that way. A proper underclass.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    All of my servants are white. At least that dude I see when I look in the mirror sure is. Fucker. Runs his mouth like he owns the place.

  • Tony||

    How rugged of you.

  • ||

    My whole staff is white, too. I guess we're just classier people than Tony's.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony's a slave owner. Figures.

  • NYC2AZ||

    I seem to recall a similar scenario in Brave New World. Why am I not surprised that this strategy fits into Tony's dystopian model of governance?

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Last I checked, it was the liberals that segregate people Tony. "We need safe spaces" "Blacks only event" "Only women aloud".

    I do love how you project your true feelings on to people. Keep showing everyone how you are inside.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Name a few brown majority countries you think are more free, more prosperous, and more secure than the US.

  • lulz farmer||

    It's not about "losing dominance" you imbecile. It's about maintaining control over their own destiny and not being beholden to parasites who make increasingly unreasonable demands for redistribution and who in any case all have their own countries they can return to if they don't like us. It's about self-determination and sovereignty.

    It doesn't have anything to do with being a "master race." Thanks for the crass non-argument, though.

  • ThomasD||

    Not really clear on how a change in birthrate equates to more 'reproductive freedom,' but I'm guessing it's just a euphemism for "my preferred behavior" anyway.

  • ThomasD||

    " the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle."

    Couldn't 'more freedom' just as easily mean anything that makes this a false choice?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    honestly I don't see why people get their blood up about a wealthy society that sees its birth rate dropping, which it tends to do.

    The only thing that concerns me is we have a political class that keeps foisting programs on society which require a higher birth rate.

    It's a puzzlement.

  • Michael Hihn||

    honestly I don't see why people get their blood up about a wealthy society that sees its birth rate dropping, which it tends to do.

    The effect on FICA taxes paid by our kids and grandkids could be immense -- which ties it directly to the current immigrant hysteria.

  • ThomasD||

    Ponzi schemes always demand ever more dupes. Doesn't matter if it's FDR style government, Bernie Madoff, or the guy at the end of the block, they all know, once the supply of new victims starts to shrink then the jig is up.

  • Michael Hihn||

    once the supply of new victims starts to shrink then the jig is up.

    Taxes would be up higher.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, they wouldn't. All that happens is another layer is added to the base of the pyramid. Eventually you run out of layers and it collapses. It's mathematically inevitable.

  • Michael Hihn||

    No, they wouldn't

    I'll TRY to explain it

    All that happens is another layer is added to the base of the pyramid.

    The identical base but SMALLER. And there are always two bases -- workers and retirees.

    Imagine a hypothetical

    100 retires receiving a total of $1200 from 300 workers paying $4 in taxes.

    10% fewer workers.

    100 retires receiving a total of $1200 from 270 workers. 1200/270 = $4.44 in taxes.

    Same number of layers. $4.44 is "higher taxes" than $4.00.

    It's mathematically inevitable.

    You kept adding more and more layers until ... there are no more layers.
    So your math assumes 1 + 1 + 1 +1 +1 1 + 1 + 1 +1 +1 1 + 1 + 1 +1 +1 = zero.

  • Steve-O||

    But we all know that can't be correct because left - right = zero.

  • Michael Hihn||

    He'd be wrong either way/

  • lulz farmer||

    It's not even a ponzi scheme when you look at who pays into the system vs. who doesn't. It's just strip mining via perverse incentives.

  • John||

    Low birth rates are not always associated with wealth. The US has had high birth rates for most of its history. Socialism in contrast is always associated with low birth rates. So a low birth rate is usually a sign of socialism and not a sign of freedom. Ron just thinks it is because he thinks every choice he likes must be the result of freedom.

  • Steve-O||

    But I hear that more freedom in Venezuela has resulted in a decline in obsesity.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Extinction - what's the big deal?"

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    So let me guess. What makes America great are the white Americans, right?

  • lulz farmer||

    What else could it be? Compare Hiroshima in 1945 after it was nuked vs. now. Then compare Detroit in 1945 vs. now.

    What changed in Detroit to make it look like it was nuked? Demography. Whereas the Japanese people still existed in Hiroshima, the people who built Detroit no longer existed in Detroit.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Uhh, the entire city of Hiroshima was rebuilt then. Detroit was not. And Japan has fewer niggers.
    /sarc

  • Ship of Theseus||

    This article makes Ron Bailey look like an even bigger jackass than he is, which I didn't think was possible. You might have chosen to be childless, but there are a great number of people who would like to have children, but can't. I'm one. So, fuck your smug bullshit attitude.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    You would force Ron and his wife to have children because you cannot?
    Would you then adopt his?

  • ||

    I don't think this is bad news, but I don't understand how you could think it is intrinsically good news.

    Indeed yay that people are making choices that work for them, but celebrating lower fertility itself is like celebrating the border wall.

  • NYC2AZ||

    "Because time and money are limited, more Americans are exercising their reproductive freedom, making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That's a good thing."

    Or the government could let me keep more of my earnings and I could afford to take proper care of more children and still live my preferred lifestyle.

  • John||

    Ron never considers that possiblilty. Yet, swears he is not against fertility.

  • Tony||

    If you can't afford children it's not because government has been raising your taxes any time recently.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Where did I qualify the statement with a time frame or that my taxes have been raised? Further, I stated more children, not children in general.

  • Tony||

    Taxes haven't been raised significantly in half a century.

    The thing that's causing people to have less money is rampant capitalism. Bosses taking more money and paying you less. Eye on the prize, comrade.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Still talking to yourself. None of what you're writing addresses my original statement.

  • Steve-O||

    Tony and NYC are both half right. What it really is is the government using your taxes to subsidize private debt, i.e. student loan and mortgage debt.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Thankfully your Great New Deal welfare state and the concomitant impact on health care costs has been more than enough. It's cute that you think those capitalist imperialist pigs are taking your money though. Duranty would be proud.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's voters who raise your taxes. Government is merely the tool.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Yes, most voters are I'll informed and lazy which is reflected in our elected government. On that, we can agree. My original statement stands.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    Did you just take both sides of a single issue?

  • NYC2AZ||

    Admitting that the electorate is generally ill informed and team driven (lazy) while still believing I should keep more of my earnings and spend that money how I see fit is not taking both sides of a single issue.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    So it's government that takes your money, and not "stupid voters." Who elects that government, to do what it does, if not voters?

  • NYC2AZ||

    Maybe go back and re-read my comment. I said ill informed and lazy voters are a reflection of the government we currently have.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    I went back and read your comment ... which you now totally reverse.
    First you said that that ill-infomed and lazy voters are reflected in our government

    >"Yes, most voters are I'll informed and lazy which is reflected in our elected government".

    Now you flip and say the government is reflected in the lazy and ill-informed voters.

    >"I said ill informed and lazy voters are a reflection of the government we currently have."

    Now go back and re-read my comment,

    >"Did you just take both sides of a single issue?"

    You just proved that is precisely what you did.

  • NYC2AZ||

    You asked if I took both sides of an issue. The simple answer is no.

    Voters are ill informed and lazy and elect a shitty government that is a result of being lazy and ill informed. That shitty government enacts and enforces shitty policy (including shitty tax policy). Those shitty policies are defended by ill informed and lazy voters by the act of re-electing the same shitty government and on and on it goes. Is that clarification enough for you on my position?

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    >"You asked if I took both sides of an issue. The simple answer is no."

    I proved the exact opposite.

    >"Is that clarification enough for you on my position?"

    I neither said nor implied that you are THAT dumb.

  • lulz farmer||

    It's libertarian spastics who naively think all human capital is equal who import the voters who then vote to increase your taxes so they can enjoy more handouts at your expense. It's really come full circle.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    And Trump spastics who unwittingly increase taxes on future generations in two ways.
    a) Slashing immigration means a declining population, forcing FICA tax increases.
    b) The tax cut - with no spending cuts -- is blatant theft from the future generations.

    Those tax increases have nothing to do with votes by those future generations, do they?
    It's like buying a house, and convincing the lender that the mortgage will be repaid by your 4-year-old daughter.

  • Steve-O||

    Importing foreigners to make up for declining birthrates always works. Just ask the Romans!

  • Michael Hihn||

    Thanks! I never knew that Romans had Social Security and Medicare.

  • The_Hoser||

    Hey, Ron? How many have you had murdered so you could stay childless?

  • John||

    I bet none. That said, it is a fair question to ask how much of this low fertility rate is the result of murdering children in the womb.

  • The_Hoser||

    After I typed that, I thought, "Gosh, that's pretty harsh. Maybe that's too much."

    Then I remembered about shouting your abortion and how there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I realized I was just being too sensitive.

  • sarcasmic||

    Sensitive libertarian? That's got to be the best oxymoron of the week.

  • John||

    Good point

  • The_Hoser||

    I'm not a Libertarian. I just hang around hoping for an invite to one of the cocktail parties.

  • turco||

    How is this good? My kids will pay the medicare and ss of childless elderly people. Not fair

    No, i am not being sarcastic.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    Only if immigration is reduced, is what he wrote.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So ron is clearly biased in the source of pf that immigration. He just doesn't want it to come from those already in the country.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    So intelligent people like Ron Bailey are bragging about the fact they don't have kids while Reason supports unlimited immigration of people with lower IQs that have higher birth rates. That must be the secret formula for the United States to become a libertarian paradise!

  • Tony||

    We go to great social expense to permit low-IQ citizens give birth to their useless spawn, so what's the problem with simply letting a few of them hop over a border? All the medical costs were outsourced to Mexico already!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    We go to similar expense to support you.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Import the children we couldn't be bothered to have"

  • lulz farmer||

    Somalia is an AnCap paradise and Ron Bailey should move to Mogadishu so he san sneak preview living the amazing future he's all about creating.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Having a kid and grandkids is by far the most rewarding thing that has ever happened in my life.Far better than education, work or any entertainment I have experienced. My biggest regret is that I didn't have more kids. Secondly, as I'm sure others have pointed out above, we live in a welfare state that requires better than 1:1 replacement. In fact human beings have always required more than replacement to survive old age. That 1.76 kids are gonna be working their asses off keeping geezer Ron on life support. I guess my grandkids will have to support people like Ron who are so proud of their childless status. Doesn't seem like a very libertarian plan to me.

  • Duelles||

    At the other end of some scale or chart are the single teenage mothers who will never finish nigh school, never have a degree, and never be able to support their children or lead them to a higher education. The great divide widens. Let's propagate dummies.

  • Echospinner||

    "It was the end of civilization, the end of all that men had striven for since the beginning of time. In the space of a few days, humanity had lost its future, for the heart of any race is destroyed, and its will to survive is utterly broken, when its children are taken from it."

    ― Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End

  • Eidde||

    What's the fertility rate among married vs. unmarried persons? Did they break down the figures to take that into account?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "the fertility rate dropped from 2.15 to 1.89 among black women, from 2.85 to 2.1 among Hispanic women, and from 1.95 to 1.72 among non-Hispanic white women."

    With Ed booted and Ron cheering as America is replaced by another Latin American country before it's eventual extinction from low birth rates, this place is becoming a total sewer.

    "Back in 2014, I pointed out the strong correlation between women pursuing higher education and falling fertility rates."

    It's the blue hair. Something about it prevents pregnancy. The CDC should look into it.

  • DrZ||

    Who is going to pay for all those government retirement obligations - huh?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Exercising reproductive freedom is a good thing."

    Is it reproductive freedom when you are priced out of reproduction by taxes, regulations, and an Open Borders policy that drives down wages and drives up housing prices?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Funny how you complain about regulations. Imposing strict border controls like your tribe wants to do would be the mother of all regulations, particularly on small businesses. Do you think mandating a system like E-Verify would come without costs?

  • lulz farmer||

    I wonder how small businesses were able to make up most of the businesses before the importation of unlimited scab labor. Real mystery. Maybe open border libertarian ideology is just a justification for extreme greed and passing off the costs of that greed to other people.

  • gjdagis||

    When I see the birthrates in Africa and The areas south of our border reach a 40 year low, THEN I will be happy.

  • Michael Hihn||

    You'll find somebody else for your Klavern to hate.

    Birthrates are tied closely tot wealth. In an agrarian society, having more children is like owning slaves for free.
    The entire world will have a negative replacement birthrate in about 20 years, if they continue falling as sharply worldwide/

  • lulz farmer||

    European populations were the wealthiest populations on the planet just 100 years ago by far and made up a much larger share of the world population then, than we do now. Maybe your hypothesis isn't very good and is just a post hoc rationalization to fit your bad ideology.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Equal rights, endowed by a Creator, you atheist.

  • vek||

    Yup. Wealth certainly helps, but it is more cultural than anything. The culture of instant gratification, that you almost shouldn't get married or have kids, etc is probably more important. To see examples look at people like the Mormons. Mormons actually have fairly high incomes, often are studious investors, and have tons of kids. Because that's their culture. Likewise Americans in the 1940-60s had higher birth rates than many third world countries do now, like India, yet we were FAR wealthier than they are now. So it's culture and what's being pushed more than wealth in and of itself.

  • Headache||

    Not good enough Ron!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Why am I certain that Ron would be rending his garments if immigration were voluntarily at a 40 year low...

    The nihilistic boomer death cult angle is a good look, Ron. You should keep it.

  • Tionico||

    making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That's a good thing

    That's a GOOD THING? Fine.. inone generation we'll be in the toilet bowl along wiht France, Germany, Norway, and the other nations that are being invaded and supplanted by foreign nationals. Most of those poeple groups have birthrates anywhere from 2.5 to close to five.... far beyonid replacement rate, and enough to replace not only their own but those WE will not be having as well. In a hundred years they who make up the current population of North America will be a small and ilkely suppressed and subjugated minority dwelling in small pockets scattered between these same two oceans. A GOOD THING? Think again.....

  • lulz farmer||

    Reason.com writers believe in the homo economicus model where, say, Norwegians become 100% interchangable with Pakistanis and other people with a standard deviation or more lower IQ.

    Any data which deviates from their model where all human capital is equal in quality and interchangable is discarded in the same way hard leftists do the same thing, and of course there is no consideration for continuity of your own. That's for naff bigots.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's called equal rights, as the alt-right runs around trying to destroy our Constitution and the Will of Almighty God.

  • vek||

    Dude, people aren't widgets. If current trends continue native Europeans will be minorities in their own lands throughout much of the continent in just a few short decades. Those people WILL NOT respect the cultures, the histories, the ideas of the original Europeans. They ALSO won't be as productive as the current people, or as capable in many fields. Nowhere in the entire world has an African or Middle Easterner (other than Jews) scored anywhere close to as high on IQ tests as native Europeans.

    The only ones that do score that high are East Asians and Jews, who are both a touch higher than most European nations. So when Germany is filled with 60% non Germans from Africa and the Middle East, Germany won't be pumping out the amazing engineers the same way they do now. That's just a fact.

    Read up on IQ and wealth, education attainment etc. It's not a politically correct fact, but it is a fact, that you need a certain minimum IQ to do certain professions... These new immigrants don't meet the requirements for many of the jobs needed to maintain a proper 1st world country. Period.

  • JH||

    Perhaps your child free lifestyle is a good thing for the world. Your thoughts and ideas will cease to exist.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Funny how an article about fertility rates really brought out the racialists and the nativists around here.

  • lulz farmer||

    I bet the only difference between America and Mexico is just geography. Magic dirt, if you will. These Mexicans totally become 100% the same as Thomas Jefferson the millisecond they set foot upon American soil. I'm sure biology has nothing to do with any of this.

    Empirical data about tax burden and who even pays into the system by demographics? Crime and the cost upon property values of having your locale colonized by bogus immigrants? Only bigots care about those things. Ensconced boomers who don't have to pay the costs associated with this don't care. They have theirs, not their concern as they don't pay the costs now and are planning to check out of life before the payment is due.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    No one ever said that the only difference between Americans and Mexicans is just geography. That is a strawman. Of course there are quite a few differences between American and Mexican culture, history, traditions, etc.

    I'm sure biology has nothing to do with any of this.

    Fine, then point to the biological origin of "all of this". And no statistical evidence doesn't count. And no IQ differences don't count either, because IQ is a deeply flawed measure of intelligence, having so many confounding variables that enter into its measurement. Point to the genes or chromosomes that can be shown, scientifically, to demonstrate that Mexicans are inferior to Americans, if that is your thesis. Surely molecular genetics has progressed at least far enough to make this possible. And if not, all you have are suppositions based on statistical aggregates and flawed measures of intelligence which the alt-righters interpret in an absurdly reductionist way to serve their racial ideology.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Of course there are quite a few differences between American and Mexican culture, history, traditions, etc.

    They ended slavery before we did, which is why Texas seceded from Mexico -- well before they seceded from the US for the same reason.

  • lulz farmer||

    Fun fact, Michael: Mexico (as well as lots of other central and south American countries) had more slavery than the US ever did and imported far more black African slaves. The US only took in about a half million. Some countries down there like Brazil took in 10 times or more that amount.

    Not that it matters, though. You're just using lame virtue signaling non-arguments.

  • Michael Hihn||

    You're full of shit on that, too,

  • lulz farmer||

    Present a cogent argument about why IQ is a "flawed measurement" but the somehow the whole of the body of economics isn't just bafflegab, then.

    No one needs to identify the specific genes to identify hereditary patterns--although identification of specific genes is coming along as well and is matching up well with the mountain of data we have on IQ testing. Sorry that you don't have even the foggiest clue about the field which you're displaying the Dunning-Kruger effect for here, pal.

    You have no competing explanatory model nor an argument as to why Mexico and other black & brown hellholes are worse and why when they're imported here, they transform areas into being just like where they came from. That's the funniest part. Virtue signaling about how pure and unracist you are isn't an argument. Sack up, little man.

  • Mark22||

    Point to the genes or chromosomes that can be shown, scientifically, to demonstrate that Mexicans are inferior to Americans, if that is your thesis.

    That isn't his thesis. So, try again.

  • vek||

    Well buddy you're in luck! They have just nailed down the first several hundred genes linked to intelligence in humans! They will probably be discovering tons more.

    As far as IQ not being a good measure of intelligence, that's bullshit, and you only don't agree with it because you don't like the implications. IQ is imperfect, I will grant you that. But so is a tape measurer for measuring height. It doesn't measure to the exact atom how tall somebody is... But it is an accurate enough way to determine height that it works for making practical decisions in most cases. So is IQ.

    IQ will tell you the income somebody is likely to make, the education level they will attain, divorce rates, crime rates etc. It is the single best predictor of life success that exists. The fact that some ethnic groups have differ in their scores is the only reason people don't like it. Yet, if you look at racial outcomes by average IQs it lines up perfectly. Jews, Asians, and Whites make the most money everywhere in the world, and have lower crime rates.

    Other groups less so, all the way down to blacks at the bottom since they have the lowest average IQs. Why do Hispanics move to the USA and INSTANTLY do better than native born blacks? Their IQs are higher on average, but still lower than whites, so they're in between, DUH.

  • vek||

    The statistical correlations are so strong it is mind boggling. If it were for any other thing, like height, it would be completely uncontested. The fact that hundreds of thousands of years of divergent evolution between some branches of modern humans and others might produce even slight differences in intelligence should not be a surprise. Even a few thousand years can produce radically different outcomes in species, and we're more separated than that even from close genetic relatives in the middle east, let alone Africa!

    It's not pretty, but it is factual. If we don't fix immigration our country will go down the tubes, and at some point people will have to accept reality. I may move to Asia in my old age if America and Europe don't save themselves, at least they'll still be civilized societies.

  • Mark22||

    Funny how an article about fertility rates really brought out the racialists and the nativists around here.

    You may suffer from the delusion that all cultures are equivalent and that multiculturalism works, but people like me who have actually had to live in different cultures know better.

    I'm an immigrant. I immigrated to the US because of US culture; if I had wanted to immigrate to Mexico I would have done so.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Some people are just unclear about the necessity of there being a next generation, if the human race is to not go extinct, I guess.

  • lulz farmer||

    Mediocrities who write bad blog posts based on bad ideologies think their legacy will be those bad blog posts and that people will remember them as anything other than examples of past insanity. So instead of having children, they think it's fine that they write these bad blog posts. After all, the largely illiterate hordes flooding in to replace the Ron Baileys of the world will 100% appreciate this stuff in the future.

  • MatthewlovesAyn||

    It's an article like this that made me give up my magazine subscription to Reason. It's generally the left that thinks of humans as burdens instead of assets. Now it seemingly includes Libertarians! It's not that I think smart white people should become baby factories. I think the choice should be left up to the individual. But to demonize reproduction is immoral, and yes you are Mr. Bailey.

  • Ron Bailey||

    M: Where in my article did I "demonize reproduction"? Have as many children as you want and can support. The whole point (missed by other readers as well so it probably is the result of an explanatory failure on my part) is that modern technology and wealth enables people to choose the number of children they wish to have. That's what reproductive freedom means. And yes, that's a good thing.

  • TGGeko||

    Theres something really creepy about cheering for planned population manipulation.

  • tlapp||

    The socialist Ponzi schemes of SS and Medicare can't survive this news. And that's a good thing.

  • lulz farmer||

    Of course it can. The question is how long will people pretend debt doesn't matter as the national debt climbs. I'm sure open borders libertarians will keep laughing all of the way to the bank as they continue to exploit the imported scab labor and pass the costs off onto the taxpayer and national debt, though.

  • Mark22||

    The socialist Ponzi schemes of SS and Medicare can't survive this news. And that's a good thing.

    Sure they can: they just import lots of low skill third world workers and inflate away benefits.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    You might wish to read Mark Steyn's "Demography Is Destiny" to get a better handle on the problem you so blithely dismiss.

  • WillPaine||

    I will read "Demography is Destiny"; thank you, AdRtR/OS! I can't wait to read just what demographics, determined by who and how, show up. Fun stuff, no doubt (well, always some doubt, unless I'm reading the Sanskrit...:-)

  • WillPaine||

    Love all you guys; I look at the Chinese experiment with babies; then, there is the sexual freedom and complete, if and when it's really good, attachment to body pleasure. "You can't base a relationship on sex, orgasms don't last long enough" Courtney Love
    Then Sammy Huntington comes along and points out how afraid white people should be, including the stats.
    Then others encourage as much reproductive biology as possible, to take over, what? I don't know; I do know I think all of you have valid points. What's the answer that leads to, what?
    peace

  • WillPaine||

    You just gomped me out of there

  • Mark22||

    Because time and money are limited, more Americans are exercising their reproductive freedom, making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That's a good thing.

    It's neither a free choice nor is it a good thing. Many people are making that tradeoff because government policies make it increasingly hard to marry and to have and raise kids. And the long term outcome of a below-replacement fertility rate is disastrous.

    It's even more absurd when Reason celebrates low American fertility and at the same time argues that third world immigration is good because it brings in more people and grows the economy.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's even more absurd when Reason celebrates low American fertility and at the same time argues that third world immigration is good because it brings in more people and grows the economy.

    That's not Reason's positibn.

    And the long term outcome of a below-replacement fertility rate is disastrous.

    Is hysteria all you've got?

    It's neither a free choice nor is it a good thing.

    Birthrates have been declining as incomes increase for several hundred years -- starting with the decline of an agrarian society (in whatever location).

    So you're opposed to both declining birthrates and increasing wealth -- apparently unwittingly -- and with no reasons to support your diktats.

    Thanks for sharing your feeeeeelings.

  • vek||

    I don't think people need to be baby factories, and obviously it should be up to the individual... But on a statistical level this stuff is not good news. Personally I think being juuust at replacement is a worthy goal for a society. Declining isn't awesome for various reasons. If you import foreigners you are guaranteeing the destruction of your civilization, especially when they're the kind of foreigners who cannot and will not assimilate. If we really try to keep the population level flat or growing via immigration in the USA we're going to be hosed, our civilization will simply cease to be. And that will be a sad end to the American experiment.

    All things considered I would prefer a declining net population to importing a bunch of unassimilatable people.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online