Causes, Consequences, and Remedies-Becker Not long ago a vocal concern was about high fertility in the world and a rapidly growing population. Remember the currently quiet zero population growth ZPG movement? The tide has turned since the worry now is about too few births and a falling population.
Low Fertility and Sustainability Low Fertility and Sustainability Motivation to stabilize population can be undermined by excessive worry that smaller numbers of young people will be supporting larger numbers of the elderly.
Until a few years ago, environmentalists led the call for "population control" in the cause of sustainability. When the United States developed a new, consensus-based position for the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo inmany environmentalists contested the new focus on helping women around the world have as many or as few children as they wanted.
When I explained the "Cairo Consensus" at a town meeting in San Antonio, Texas, one man responded, "For the next 20 years no women should be allowed to have children, and only one in 20 should be allowed to have one child for the following 20 years!
Why the turnaround, especially when the world is adding to its numbers rapidly? Or, as Michael Teitelbaum and Jay Winter, authors of The Fear of Population Decline, put it, "If and when population decline takes place, there are both rational and irrational reasons to pay attention.
All too often over the past century, the irrational has provided a convenient means of explaining away social, political, and economic problems by invoking distorted metaphors from biology. First, the population declines expected in countries such as Germany, Japan, and Italy are taking place while world population keeps growing.
The United Nations currently projects that world population will rise from its current level of 6. Demographers find both the high and low bounds to these longer-term projections illustrative but unrealistic; their purpose is to delimit the range of possibilities suggested by current trends.
However, many non-demographers are treating the low projection as gospel. This scenario assumes that fertility in all countries will fall to around 1. Most Americans are aware that a Baby Boom erupted after World War II and lasted until the Pill gave women control over their fertility, but few now remember the downturn in births before the boom.
In an illustration of how new developments cause good projections to go bad, Philip Hauser projected in the s that U. Demographers have not yet untangled the relative impact of the reasons for very low fertility, either, but have reached consensus that the overall cause is the changing costs of rearing children under "modernization.
Factors Experiences in a variety of countries offer a natural laboratory for studying the effects of cultural differences in this new context. Northern European women also U. Not coincidentally, in these countries relatively large numbers of children are born outside marriage.
In countries where the culture accepts children as more important than marriage even if it prefers marriagesimultaneously accepting moderate levels of immigration can sustain or grow population. In contrast, in the countries facing population decline, strong cultural traditions limit both fertility and immigration.
In these countries, society does not accept cohabitation in lieu of marriage for childbearing, and children tend to live with their parents until marriage. Public policies can make a difference. Take France, with its relatively high fertility rate for Europe and high rate of female participation in the labor force: At the same time, income levels have become less important except for non-marital childbearing, i.
Meanwhile, countries with very low fertility suffer from what demographers call maternal role incompatibility. In these countries, both work and family systems are less egalitarian: How gender inequality plays out varies from country to country: Thus, where institutions and family members adapt to the increasing costs of children, couples come closer to having the two children most people in industrialized countries still say they want.
Still, John Bongaarts estimates that in countries where modern conditions prevail, policy has a narrow range to work in: Fears Many concerns about people in low-fertility countries choosing to have one child instead of two, or two instead of three, arise from the disparity with other countries, especially countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East-more of "them," fewer of "us.
By and large, less-developed countries do not have enough economic activity to employ their current populations, let alone the large generations yet to reach working age. Beyond economic and cultural concerns, national security specialists are focusing on population disparities with countries that have high rates of population growth and have underinvested in their labor force.
Countries with populations of 10 million or more and more than 40 percent of the population under age 15 include such troubled spots as Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Sudan. It is hard to avoid the fear that large and growing numbers of unemployed youth threaten world stability.
Flaws But what if low fertility goes global? Indeed, influencing policymakers is the shared agenda of many popular assessments of very low fertility, though stated overtly only by direct opponents of family planning.
Whether for individual countries or the globe, all the doom-and-gloom portrayals of population decline are flawed in fundamental ways. They tend to be constructed from selected facts taken out of context, and they are static; they overlook the way change in one variable causes others to change.
No one has yet done a systematic, dynamic analysis of how populations might function if they got smaller, one that accounts for the ways economic, social, technological, and environmental changes can affect one another.
Population decline is simply too new. But, while we are waiting for such an analysis, why would having fewer people be bad? The arguments that resonate across all low-fertility countries, according to a survey of the popular press conducted by Laura Stark and Hans-Peter Kohler, are economic. The most common argument, the effect on benefit systems from a rise in "dependency," reflects a uniform result of all projection scenarios:Nov 06, · You can also add empty formatting tags by selecting nothing and clicking one of the buttons/menu thus allowing you to add the chat text afterwards between these tags.
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The different . As an example of the consequences of such low fertility, the U.N. projection of the Italian population to (with only a modest increase in its current fertility of to , the U.N. low-variant estimate) produces a 30% decline in total population.
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Search. These characteristics are influenced by hormones and chromosomes. Countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and England are more likely to have nontraditional views of gender. A) True. Germany has the lowest birthrate in the world: per 1, population between and , according to a recent study by the Hamburg-based world economy institute, the HWWI.
In one generation, Europe will be unrecognizable. Eastern Europe now has "the largest population loss in modern history", while Germany overtook Japan by having the world's lowest birth rate. These low birth countries contain over 40% of the world’s population, including every country in Western Europe, China, Japan, Russia, Poland, and Canada, to name just a few.
Birth rates in many other countries, including the United States, Mexico, and Iran, are only a little above the level necessary to replace the number of deaths.