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The Baby Boom is Over

ve8QAd   |   October 01, 2010

It looks as though the recent mini-baby boom has crested and dropped back. Actual numbers look like this:

A developed nation needs 2.1 babies to be born per woman in her lifetime in order to maintain ZPG (zero population growth) that means neither climbing nor declining population. It was above that back in post-World War II, and that higher rate persisted during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

With the coming of abortion, however, in the early 1970’s, it dropped to 1.8. Remember now, you need 2.1. It stayed in that general range, well below replacement level, until 1990 when it began to slowly climb and reached a peak of 2.08, just a shade under the number needed to simply replace those dying. That seems to have been a crest, for it is now dropping.

Why the mini-baby boom? Almost certainly, it was the women who had delayed child bearing and then, conscious of their biologic clocks ticking, they decided to have a child before it was too late. This raised the birth rate. But that phase is passing, and we’re back down to a negative replacement level.

Now you’ve heard, though that a record 52 million students are enrolled in public and private elementary and secondary schools. You’ve heard talk about overcrowding in schools and building plans in others. Well, there are always relocations of people, with certain areas building up and others shrinking. However, the total number of children coming up to these schools will now be shrinking.

Why, then, is our population still growing? For two reasons, we have had a sharply increased number of immigrants in the last decade or two, and this alone pushes that number up to where, instead of a shrinking population, we have a growing one.

The other big reason is the delaying of death. It used to be that a person in their 80’s was a rather unusual survivor, and people in their 90’s were written up in the newspaper. Now 80-year-olds are commonplace, and most of you know some in their 90’s. The point is we’re living longer and, as such, we still contribute to the total population.

Finally, one obvious comment, the birth dearth is very clearly being caused by abortion. About 4 million babies are born every year, but 1.2 million more are killed. If and when we could stop the slaughter, then our birth dearth would not exist.

Demographer Ben Wattenberg, who is pro-abortion, summed it up by saying, “American fertility-perhaps the single most important long-term social indicator we have-is back down in a ditch, moving toward the potentially catastrophic European-style pattern.”

He tells us that this will in the future have a major impact on American society. Because of the low birth rate, businessmen will have fewer customers, schools fewer students, our armed forces fewer recruits. There will be fewer and fewer taxpayers to support aging baby-boomers who had hoped to retire someday.

His answer to Social Security? “You don’t put in dollars, you put in babies.”


Let’s talk more about population. We’ve been told a great many frightening stories that over-population is causing raw materials to disappear; there won’t be enough oil left; we’re turning forests into wastelands-and it goes on and on.

But do understand. The only real measure of whether a specific commodity is becoming less scarce-that is, less difficult to obtain, or more scarce and harder to get-is what you pay for it. Now we can’t measure these figures in dollars because dollars keep getting cheaper. One way we can measure them, that is steady, is how long a person would have to work in order to earn that kind of a reward.

Not too many years ago the economist Julian Simon made a bet with Paul Ehrlich, the author of Population Bomb. Ehrlich has been the source of many of these frightening stories and continues to predict that there are too many people, and we’re all going to starve.

Their bet depended upon whether the prices of any of five major resources, such as copper and oil, would rise or fall in a given period of time. This would indicate whether we were running out of that commodity or whether there was more of it available. Ehrlich said we would run out. Simon said there’d be more. Ten years went by. The result? The prices of all of them had fallen in terms of real value. Simon collected his bet. This showed that everything had become less scarce.

You see, whenever a particular material resource-be that a mineral from the ground, a pool ball, rice, or whatever-becomes scarcer, what happens? The price goes up. Humans are very creative, and certain inventive people will get around to inventing something to take advantage of that price rise. They’ll search for further reserves, find alternative ways, and invent new things. And the end result? The scarcity disappears, the price drops, and we are all the better for it.

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