Births are falling in China, Japan, the United States, Germany, Italy and nearly all other European countries. Studies have shown that births drop when unemployment rises, such as during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Birth rates have fallen the most in some regions that were hardest hit by the financial crisis.
In the United States, three-quarters of people surveyed by Gallup last year said the main reason couples weren’t having more children was a lack of money or fear of the economy.
It’s mostly hooey and, in fact, this may well herald good news overall. Why? Well, long-term, rising incomes generally result in falling birthrates:
Macroeconomic research bears out this picture. Fertility starts to drop at an annual income per person of $1,000-2,000 and falls until it hits the replacement level at an income per head of $4,000-10,000 a year (see chart 2). This roughly tracks the passage from poverty to middle-income status and from an agrarian society to a modern one. Thereafter fertility continues at or below replacement until, for some, it turns up again (see article).
Robust life extension will drop the fertility rate even further.
Check out my new bestseller, Lightning Fall: A Novel of Disaster. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.com says: “Bill Quick has authored a terrific thriller that is also an all too plausible warning. Highly recommended!” Available in Kindle e-book or trade paperback formats.