Declining birth rate

Birth dearth
Below-replacement fertility
Falling birth rate
Lack of pronatalist policies
Inadequate pronatalism
Low birth rate
The declining birth rate of any social group, especially a country as a whole, threatens the survival of its culture in its expansionist form. It has more immediate implications in terms of the proportion of active workers available to support those of pensionable age. Shifts in the size of age groups also have severe implications for the future of particular businesses and services, notably those for young people.
1. The current worldwide tendency for actual population decrease or reductions in rate of increase may help developing countries raise their living standards, but will also require adjustments in both developed and developing countries, particularly in providing security to the elderly. This will be even more the case by the 21st century. Nations will experience a marked reduction in the number of children entering the age group of compulsory schooling and, progressively, in that of the age groups entering universities, military service, and growing up to be productive members of society in terms of both wages earned and ideas/creations returned to society.

2. One must immediately add that in the northern hemisphere the nature of this problem is reversed: here, the cause for concern is the drop in the birth rate, with repercussions on the aging of the population, unable even to renew itself biologically. In itself, this is a phenomenon capable of hindering development. Just as it is incorrect to say that such difficulties stem solely from demographic growth, neither is it proved that all demographic growth is incompatible with orderly development. (Papal Encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 30 December 1987).

3. Low birthrates are infinitely more dangerous to aging industrial societies than smoking or "mad cow" disease. They must choose: pronatal policies, immigration, or slow death.

1. Any decline in population growth is a relief on already overstrained planetary resources.

2. Birth rates increase and decrease over long periods of time. To be concerned about declining birth rates over a period of less than 50 years is short sighted.

3. The reasons are complex. Prosperity often leads to lower birth rates. So do urbanization and industrialization. So do advances in medical science. So, too, does the empowerment of women. In fact, lower birth rates are clear indications of well being. High birth rates often indicate the opposite.

(D) Detailed problems