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.
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.