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US Birthrate Plummets To Record Low 567

Posted by Soulskill
from the peaceful-movie-theaters-and-airline-flights-hit-record-high dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that the U.S. birthrate is at its lowest since 1920, the earliest year with reliable records. The rate decreased to 63.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age — a little more than half of its peak, which was in 1957. The overall birthrate decreased by 8 percent between 2007 and 2010, but the decline is being led by immigrant women hit hard by the recession, with a much bigger drop of 14 percent among foreign-born women. Overall, the average number of children a U.S. woman is predicted to have in her lifetime is 1.9, slightly less than the 2.1 children required to maintain current population levels. Although the declining U.S. birthrate has not created the kind of stark imbalances found in graying countries such as Japan or Italy, it should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers, says Roberto Suro, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California. 'We've been assuming that when the baby-boomer population gets most expensive, that there are going to be immigrants and their children who are going to be paying into [programs for the elderly], but in the wake of what's happened in the last five years, we have to reexamine those assumptions,' he said. 'When you think of things like the solvency of Social Security, for example, relatively small increases in the dependency ratio can have a huge effect.'"
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US Birthrate Plummets To Record Low

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  • OK, so... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jamstar7 (694492)
    ... this means I'll get back $1 for every 20 I kicked into the system since 1969?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      At least you'll get something back, geezer. I don't expect social security to be around when I retire.

      • Re:OK, so... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jemenake (595948) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:09PM (#42145511)

        At least you'll get something back, geezer. I don't expect social security to be around when I retire.

        ... and for less contribution. I once saw a chart someone compiled where it showed the average tax rate paid by people of each age. For example, someone born in 1950... they added up the median income for a 16-year-old in 1966, a 17-year-old in 1967, etc, to get an idea of how much money they've earned over their entire life (adjusting for inflation, of course). They then looked at how much tax they paid, on average, at each of those ages to figure out, over your lifetime, what percentage of your earnings went to the 'gummint'. What they found was that, for senior citizens, because they paid such low tax rates back before the 70's or so, their effective lifetime tax-rate was something like less than half of someone in their 20's today.

        • they also had much, much higher wages and a larger share of the profits. Wages have been falling for 40 years. Right now the the only way to get anything out of the rich is to tax it out of them. Also, if you just look at the top 1% taxes are the lowest they've been since 1920. It's the middle and poor that are getting hosed.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by gr8_phk (621180)
        SS will be around when you/we retire. It's a separate tax that goes into a separate fund. That fund is presently about 3 trillion dollars, which is good because for 2 years now it's paying out more than its taking in due to the baby boomers starting to retire. Should the fund ever run dry they will have to stop paying more than is going in, at which point it will truely be the younger people paying for the older people. But it will not go away. I say this because if it goes away entirely they will have to e
        • Re:OK, so... (Score:5, Informative)

          by medcalf (68293) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:31PM (#42145909) Homepage
          You've got it backwards. The Dems generally want Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security kept out of the regular budget, and not means tested. Doing those things would make the programs, in essence, just more welfare programs, and thus more easily cut in hard times. You are also mistaken about the "trust fund." The trust fund currently consists of Federal government bonds, because all the money was used at the time it was raised, to make the deficit appear lower. The net effect is that when it's time to make payments from the trust fund, the government must either inflate the currency to make those bonds less expensive in real terms to buy back (thus hurting people who actually save money), raise taxes to get more revenue to pay off the bonds (thus hurting those who will then be paying in to benefit those who are paying in now), sell other bonds to pay off the earlier bonds (thus increasing the national debt/interest on net, and on the assumption that US government bonds haven't gone off a cliff), or not pay the promised benefits. Some combination of these three is most likely. But the reality is that there is no trust fund in any meaningful sense; there is a set of promises that will have to be redeemed by hurting someone or everyone at some point in the future.
          • by JWW (79176)

            Exactly. Well stated.

            Anyone who insists there is actually SS Trust fund is just plain wrong.

          • All Government bonds, including those owed to SSI, are considered part of the Debt (well, if you are going with the $14 trillion number). The only way to pay off the debt is to buy back the bonds and when you lower the deficit you will by definition be selling less bonds to all customers, including SSI. So the trust fund was used to "fund" the deficit, but it never changed the apparent size of the deficit. One consequence of this is that paying less benefits doesn’t lower the debt or deficit in any

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lgw (121541)

          There is no actual money in the SS Trust fund. Reagan took a bit of it, Clinton took most of it, and Bush Jr finished it off. There's only an IOU there with no economic value.

          This can be hard to understand: why is it bad that there's one kind of bond there instead of another? Here's a very close analgy to explain. Let's say you had good retirement savings in your 401K. But then you borrowed the entire amount for some emergency. There's *still* a financial instrument in your 401K - the record of the lo

          • Re:OK, so... (Score:4, Informative)

            by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:22PM (#42147631)

            This is not how intergenerational transfers work. This is no ponzi scheme, unless the people in the US collectively decide to produce no more children and forbid all immigration. In which case I guess you'll have other, more urgent, problems. Ponzi schemes break down because eventually, you cannot grow the base fast enough. Intergenerational transfers work as long as there are new generations, which there will be for as long as there is a US of A. There are transitions between demographic structures, but these are temporary problems and require no long-term fixes : you can smooth out problems through borrowing.

            Basically, the US is broke exactly when people stop wanting T-bills, and not a moment before. The moment that happens is when people stop believing that the US will produce stuff in the next 3-10 years. And the rest of the planet offers significantly better prospects with very little risk.

            This will not happen. At least, not in the forseeable future.

            It doesn't matter that there is no money in the fund. In fact, it is a good thing: it is a terrible and wasteful thing to have large sums doing nothing in a bank account, and at the kind of scales we are talking about, this is nothing short of criminal. Because the ability to keep paying SS depends on the promise that the US is a place where riches are created (by which I mean goods and services, not bullion) it is an excellent strategy to invest the money in the fund to pay for whatever stuff makes Americans happy and productive.

            You want to know what happens when people start thinking like accountants? Look at Europe! Or think about outsourcing of IT departments, to give an example dear to the slashdot crowd. A country is not a household.

    • Re:OK, so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:18PM (#42145675)

      Stop your whining. It was your generation in power that decided that starting multiple wars, deregulating the financial system, and then cutting taxes at the same time was a good idea. Your generation doesn't deserve shit for retirement compared to how your generation looted and pillaged the country thinking that your kids would clean it up.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Stop your whining. It was your generation in power that decided that starting multiple wars, deregulating the financial system, and then cutting taxes at the same time was a good idea. Your generation doesn't deserve shit for retirement compared to how your generation looted and pillaged the country thinking that your kids would clean it up.

        Except that it wasn't the OP's generation that did all of that, at least not alone. It was all of the voting generations. Oh, and you forgot to include massively expanding entitlements (particularly Medicare) and bailing out the banks in your list of fiscal irresponsibilities.

      • You're misplacing your anger. It was not his generation. It was a few select people that used their wealth and power to trick, cow and frighten the entire USA. They use sentiments like you just expressed to divide us so they can conquer us. Stop thinking in terms of punishment for mistakes. Start asking what people REALLY deserve. Food. Housing. Health Care. You ARE entitled to those things. Don't let the Mitt Romneys of the world tell you otherwise. Don't let them set you at each other's throats....
    • by johanwanderer (1078391) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:51PM (#42146273)
      It's not just the overall birth rate, but also the break down [newscientist.com] of birth rate to various segments of population that matters.

      The linked article displays population projection from now to 2050, broken down by segments. It also shows the education levels of each segment. What it imply is we will end up with a less educated work force moving forward unless we are doing some heavy investing now.

      So, your $20 in 1969 may turn into $0 (albeit in 2050) unless we can somehow shore up "the kids these days".
  • by Pollux (102520) <`ge.ten.atadet' `ta' `reteps'> on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:53PM (#42145221) Journal

    They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:05PM (#42145453)

      The old generation mentality is wrong, and unsustainable. lower birth rates should be encouraged. It makes for a higher standard of living for all, and a higher quality of living for all. who knows, maybe fewer people could help create more social-cohesion and community:something many people lament this era is lacking in.

      the only downside is the current social programs have been geared for continual exponential growth (more young-ens sustaining the geezers) and they look a little scary with a low to negative growth rate.

      • by JWW (79176)

        The problem is that our economy is predicated on growth and has been engineered to be that way for decades.

        Lower population growth = lower economic growth

        There are ways to fix this issue, but we need to change the way we look at business and economics to do so.

    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:11PM (#42145545) Homepage Journal

      They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

      I suppose "One's" never stopped to consider that maybe those Americans who make fiscal security a priority over popping out offspring do so for the benefit of said potential offspring.

      Sure, the wife and I could have had kids as soon as we got married - and those kids would have grown up in abject poverty as a result. Instead, we decided to focus on getting financially stable first, so any children we do end up having get a better start than either of us did.

      Sounds to me like "One's" is the person who doesn't deserve to procreate.

      • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:32PM (#42145915)

        "One's" is probably 70 or 80 years old, and grew up and raised children at a time when economic realities were totally different. When it was normal to support a family on a single salary. When you didn't have to go to college to break into (or stay in) the middle class. (One of my college professors told me that when he was in college in the 1940s, he earned enough money in his summer job to pay tuition for the year!) When the median house cost 2x the median annual salary, not 8x. When employees had job security and strong unions and could expect a pension, and medical costs were not 20% of the GDP.

        The bigger TV and even the second car are small expenses compared to the costs of establishing economic security in modern America.

        It's a conceit of the old that because they had it hard, we somehow have it easier. But it's understandable.

      • by swillden (191260)

        I suppose "One's" never stopped to consider that maybe those Americans who make fiscal security a priority over popping out offspring do so for the benefit of said potential offspring.

        When those older people grew up "popping out offspring" was the route to fiscal security. Maybe they didn't think of it that way, exactly, but it was. Lots of hands to help work the farm, and lots of kids to help support the parents when the parents got old. A larger family was a wealthier family.

        And, interestingly, when you have a national Ponzi scheme like Social Security running... more kids is also the path to fiscal security for people in their old age, except on a collective rather than individua

    • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:11PM (#42145555)

      Another take on it is that people who are responsible, and realize how much children cost and how much investment it takes in them, wait a long time to have kids and don't have many. Having a house and a two car garage, and having them paid off is SMART, it's how you can live your life without being a slave in someone else's salt mine (and making the kinds of decisions that slaves make).

      I don't see this trend as "bad", it seems pretty good to me. We have too many people, we consume too many resources, we don't really have enough to go around for any length of time. Let the population shrink to what it needs to be given the level of technology we have available.

    • by NFN_NLN (633283)

      They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

      Perhaps for a select few. However, I believe it is the financial squeeze put on families that is the bigger issue.
      In the past you would work most of your life at a single company and collect a pension. With security like that it was much easier to have a child, knowing they would be taken care of. With the economic uncertainty now why would you want to have more than 1 or at most 2 children.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      In the UK a couple where only one person works can't afford kids any more. Even with two working parents it is hard, and some people feel they should be full time parents.

      I have a pretty good job but kids are out of the question for the foreseeable future, even if I did want them.

    • by xs650 (741277) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:19PM (#42145701)
      Overpopulation is a problem that is getting worse, the selfish ones are the ones that have lots of children.
    • So, your out of touch old people are saying that being financially stable enough to have a safe location (ideal in raising children) and enough money to live comfortably (ideal in raising children) prior to having children is... selfish? Further, that the very idea of not forcing yoru offspring upon the world is selfish?

      Well, my out of touch old people think Obama is personally going to break into their houses at night and steal their guns. All I can do is shake my head sadly and look to the future. If
    • by kwerle (39371)

      Judging by your account ID, I guess you couldn't be TOO much younger than I am.

      Back in the day, what the hell else was a woman going to do with her time? And how else were they going to get financial security for their old age?
      http://www.ssa.gov/history/hfaq.html [ssa.gov]

      Social Security was created in '37. Medicare in '65. If you didn't have kids, you were looking at a pretty hard retirement.

      And, of course, the more kids you had, the more farm hands you had - if that was your life (as it was, to a fair extent, fo

    • Actually, I suspect it's geared more towards the female spouse wanting a career first and foremost.

      Not a sexist thing at all, mind you - back in the day, women usually got married young, moved into the new home, and started having kids. Now, a typical woman fully expects to have some sort of good career going first before even thinking of having children (which also explains why women have their first/only kid later in life in recent times). These days, it seems the only females who have kids before 25 are

  • they built a new addition over the last 3 years to handle more students and they are still getting more applications than seats. this is for kindergarten. 160 some seats and they got almost 200 applications. this is for a NYC public school

  • the average number of children a U.S. woman is predicted to have in her lifetime is 1.9, slightly less than the 2.1 children required to maintain current population levels

    Oh my GOD! It's like we'll have to allow some people to migrate into our country just to sustain ourselves! QUICKLY, let's open the floodgates of and bring more people in before we all just wither and fade away!

    Seriously? This is an issue?
    That anyone feels this is newsworthy is why we have a distruct of sociologists. They have serious discussions over "well, duh" type findings.

    All that said, I see what they're trying to say: "Social Security if fucked". And while that's an important thing to say, it

    • Re:PANIC! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:24PM (#42145807) Journal

      Seriously? This is an issue?

      It's an economic bubble. Our country is based on debt, which is based on inflation, which is based on population expansion. More hands out means more hands to put money into which means more debt which means more money in the money system which means you can keep collecting interest. Issued debt grows and grows, but work gets done.

      Now when people start working their way out of debt and paying on assets, stop taking loans, etc, that fails. Stop taking mortgages? Credit crunch, recession, depression. Stop taking student loans? Credit crunch. With a credit crunch, we don't have as much money in the system. That means less money flowing around to pay off loans, making it harder for people to get high-paying jobs to pay down their debt, meaning defaults on debt, meaning people are foreclosed on and banks are left with worthless assets and lose money. Loss of money means the federal government doesn't get paid back, and banks fold, and the taxes go up--or the banks raise interest rates and add fees to take more money away from people. Economic damage.

      The whole system is based on population expansion. More population, more credit issue, more debt, more money flow. Stable population means suddenly a lot of things don't work. Thing is the population is basically an economic bubble--it grows, it shrinks. It can't grow and grow and grow any more than the spot price of AAPL.

  • by fredan (54788) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:58PM (#42145323) Homepage Journal
    that's why the republicans does not want women to get subsides on their birth control pills!
  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:59PM (#42145331) Journal
    My husband and I agreed not to have kids. By all rights we're in the sweet spot for it - young professionals, good careers ahead, own our house, etc. But.... I just don't see the need for it. We have his nieces and nephew any time we get the urge to play with kids or hold a baby. We have tons of friends with kids who are super glad to have us watch their rugrats for a night.

    And let's not get into how expensive children are, or how hostile work environments are to parents of either sex (but especially women.) I believe both parents deserve equal maternity/paternity leave and for a far longer period than most employers are willing to give them. We'd have to both be comfortably working from home to even consider it.

    So, we're not quite the couple in the beginning of Idiocracy, but we're close enough.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Playing with nieces and nephews can be a lot of fun, but there is no feeling comparable to the joy of raising your own child.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:08PM (#42145503)

      Thank you for not having children.

    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:19PM (#42145697)

      This is not a critique of you, I don't know you or your situation personally so obviously I cannot and will not judge, but:

      This is a kind of selfishness. You indicate that you think of having children entirely around how it would impact you, personally, and what you want. The problem with this is that having children is fundamentally not about you. It's about the potential children you could have, and about their well-being and prosperity, even if it is extremely costly and a tremendous sacrifice to you personally, and at a slightly higher level the economic and demographic well being of the country, which relies on a steady stream of young people to work and produce for society, and of course at the highest level it is simply about the continuation of the species and making sure humanity survives and prospers. That is why animals, all animals (humans included) have children. It isn't for your own pleasure or well-being, although I should point out that having kids actually does make you live longer, and happier, and in the long term more stably, since you have children to support and help you once you grow old.

      The mindset you exhibit is extremely common. It's the whole reason the US isn't having enough kids to sustain itself, and the reason the Japanese are probably going to collapse in a few decades from a population implosion. That attitude will destroy the country in which it becomes widespread, almost inevitably (hell, it's part of what destroyed Rome all those years ago).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:32PM (#42145917)

        I say this as someone who just had a child, but I think those who have children do it out of selfishness, too. You want to be the one to improve the world and help humanity (and make yourself feel good about yourself and boost your ego), so you do it by having a child. There is also the even more selfish ones who do it out of longing to have a family, the joys of parenthood, and maybe even so they hopefully have someone to take care of you.

        Most people have selfish reasons for their decisions, that is just human nature (as is altruism).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:56PM (#42146373)

        Having children just to sustain the US is selfishness (and ultimately unsustainable). Having children to support you once you get old is even more so. Having children if you don't want them, is stupidness. Most people have children because they are supposed to, just like animals. Actually choosing to have or have not children seems thoughtful. That you disagree, and call it selfish, is thoughtless.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's the whole reason the US isn't having enough kids to sustain itself, and the reason the Japanese are probably going to collapse in a few decades from a population implosion.

        No, the problem with Japan's birth rate is that more and more males no longer want to even bother dealing with the opposite sex [wikipedia.org].

        And I wouldn't blame them. The "traditional" social expectation (and this isn't exclusively a Japanese thing) is for men to work day and night (as a salaryman), while the wife stays home.

        Some woman will probably chime in how hard it is to clean the house and take care of the kids, and those jobs are just as important. Well, if it's so hard and important how about we switch?

        Ah, but

    • by alen (225700)

      depends on your job. there are high and low paying jobs where you have to be on site to work. my wife and i are lucky that we can work from home if need be

      and you think you have it good now, but wait a few decades. people's kids will grow up and they will forget about you since the kids can watch themselves. people will always spend time as a family with kids and grandchildren and cousins and others. you and your wife will be alone and bitter in your old age.

      or you will end up like some of the dummies i see

    • by gr8_phk (621180)

      I just don't see the need for it. We have his nieces and nephew any time we get the urge to play with kids or hold a baby. We have tons of friends with kids who are super glad to have us watch their rugrats for a night.

      I get it and I don't disagree with your POV. But that is nothing like actually having kids. They change your life in ways you can't imagine. There are pros and cons, and perhaps you think you're getting many of the pros without the cons. If so, you're badly mistaken. The process of raising

      • by Shados (741919)

        Most rewarding to some, maybe most....absolutely not all. I personally highly dislike kids, and everyone around me knows it. The reasons aren't important, whats important is that since it is known that I hate kids, a lot of people will tell me things they wouldn't say out loud..generally out of shame.

        While i fully believe the VAST majority of the population loves their kids more than anything, a small, but significant percentage are just not meant for it (I've read a few studies that say about 10%....plus o

    • by GreggBz (777373) on Friday November 30, 2012 @04:34PM (#42146949) Homepage

      As a father of an unplanned daughter, who at one point thought a lot like you, I can tell you that there's simply no practical reason to have kids. It's purely emotional. That being said, It's hard to put into words why you might want to have kids, but I'll try.

      There's the times when I pick her up at daycare, and she runs into my arms and says "daddy daddy!" That just makes any bad day better. :-)

      Other times, I get to thinking how maybe she'll get married one day, or have her own baby. I imagine when that time comes, I'll look at her and feel something like I felt when I held her right after she was born. I'll think how she's just this little girl that we brought to life, that we gave a chance to. When I get time to think of it, I'm deeply fufilled in knowing that my wife and I brought someone into this world. That we gave someone else a chance to know what life is all about, begining to end.

      At night, when she's not doing well or is sick, and calls for us, it's an overwhelming feeling of dependance, of importance. It's not replicated anywhere else in my personal or professional life. The notion that someone else's life depends entirely on us, gives me a sort of peace and direction I never otherwise had.

      Don't get me wrong. Having kids is hard, sleepless, exhausting work. No one tells you how hard it really can be. But, you know, I just started to embrace the challenge. And I realized it's the most important thing I'll ever accomplish. It's very hard to describe how that feels.

      Personally, I would'nt have it any other way.

  • I do remember many times seeing the reports of how over-population was going to put such stresses on resources that it would be catastrophic to the globe. Well, looks like the problem has been solved. Yes it will be painful for a moment in time, but once population stabilizes, or even falls, there will be more for folks.

    Frankly, the Govt can keep what I've paid into SS and the like. Just stop taking it out of my paychecks. I will take care of myself thank you very much.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I do remember many times seeing the reports of how over-population was going to put such stresses on resources that it would be catastrophic to the globe. Well, looks like the problem has been solved. Yes it will be painful for a moment in time, but once population stabilizes, or even falls, there will be more for folks.

      So over-population and global warming aren't intertwined at all? Carbon emissions are only half the problem. The other half is ALL THE FREAKING PEOPLE using the technologies which emit carbon!

  • I think within 20-30 years, social security will be just about tapped out and unable to pay more than a small percentage of people that paid in.

    What will end up happening is only the needy will be given social security money, anyone who has any amount of savings will not be allowed to draw out of it.

    So for anyone working now - just treat social security as a black whole, money taken from you never to be seen again. Save enough for your own retirement to be comfortable. It's not hard to do, even just a few

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      I think within 20-30 years, social security will be just about tapped out and unable to pay more than a small percentage of people that paid in.

      Note that according to the latest Trustee's report the trust fund will pay full retirement benefits until 2033 [ssa.gov], and thereafter will still be paying 75% of scheduled benefits through 2086 -- not a "small percentage". It's been proposed that the deficit could be completely wiped-out by means-testing OASDI payouts...

    • by LehiNephi (695428)
      The current projections are for the Social Security Trust Fund to be depleted around 2037, last I checked. At that point, assuming the government only pays out what it brings in, benefits will be reduced by about 25%. I would assume with current demographics, the payroll taxes will pay for an ever-shrinking percentage of the original benefits, until the baby boomers die off in significant numbers.

      I don't know anybody under the age of 55 who is planning on receiving benefits from SS when they retire.
  • Why would you want tonnes of kids when you can find a job and they want to cut your food stamps?

    You can't even get a living wage at Walmart!

  • if you read the article they have a nice chart going back to the 1800's. the last 50 some years the birth rate has been flat since peaking in 1960.

    right about the same time as women going into the work force and becoming independent and having children later. instead of peaks and valleys like before we will probably have a nice smooth birth rate going forward as people have kids later in life

  • by shaitand (626655) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:00PM (#42145365) Journal

    Seriously, the social security problem is easily solved by actually making the wealthy pay their proportionate share of the taxes. It isn't even a significant factor compared to the effects of uncontrolled population growth on the human race.

    Our population is far too high as is and it going shrinking some isn't a bad thing. Just because we've been planning for overcrowding, increasing resource usage, etc doesn't mean should not demand that our population continue it's horrible growth increase to fulfill our fears.

    People often like to claim that humans consume without bounds and replicate until all resources are used up and will eventually move on. A stop in population growth would indicate an equilibrium with our environment and disappoint them. Is that really so bad?

    • by alen (225700)

      most wealthy people don't get their money from salary, but from investments.

      fat chance on taxing everyone's investments that haven't been turned into cash

    • by Smidge204 (605297)

      Money collected from any means other than Social Security withholdings cannot be used fro Social Security payments, nor can money collected for Social Security be used for any other purpose.

      =Smidge=

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:01PM (#42145381)

    This is a problem with the US economy in general - it is based on growth. Those European/Asian countries that have been around for thousands of years are more stable, and have economies based more on sustainable goods and services. One of the main economic numbers that drives the US stock market is "new housing starts" - a number based solely on having the population continually increasing. Once that slows down - and can't even be propped up by the banks fudging mortgages - the entire country is headed for a depression.

    • by alen (225700)

      there is no asian/european country that has been around for thousands of years in a stable condition. they all have been invaded and their populations killed off to make room for the invaders.

      mongols invaded china
      the romans pushed the gauls into england and then ireland. the current french are franks, who were invaders in the early part of the last millenium. same with most other europeans. they were the barbarians who invaded the roman empire and settled down.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:09PM (#42145523)

    used to be you had 5 kids and 2 of them would die by 5 or 10. smallpox, typhoid, cholera, polio, death in child birth. add in your normal bacterial infections spreading and making your kids blind or some other disability because anti-biotics weren't available.

    these days we have vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs to treat conditions that used to kill.

    my older kid had pneumonia a few years back. a little zithromax and he was ready for day care in 2 days.
    one of my school teachers once said that pneumonia put her in the hospital for a month
    before that it wasn't that unusual to die from it

  • by icebike (68054) * on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:12PM (#42145557)

    I suspect that people with education and stable incomes continue to have children at the already low rate that they have historically.

    That immigrants are also reducing the number of pregnancies hints that they understand the consequences and costs of raising children. Or maybe it hints that with access to free medical services (and yeah, lets not kid ourselves, for them it is free), they have managed to throw off the traditions of the third world of having many children even when living in squalor in the hopes that some of them will survive to take care of them in their old age.

    (You would sort of expect this, since anyone willing to abandon their homeland and go on a long and dangerous journey risking arrest, and sometimes life, in the hopes of improving their conditions, would seem unlikely to fall back into the trap that they left).

    Its been a long time since this country had a depression lasting 5 years, (with another 4 years on the horizon). Long enough for even the clueless to begin to understand the costs involved of feeding kids while out of work.

    So who is still having those kids? I suspect the least able to support them. Unmarried teen age girls living in poverty [prb.org]. Despite nationally declining rates, teen birth rates in the United States remain persistently high, at 34.4 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19. And these rates are dramatically higher than in other developed countries. Twice as high as Canada.

    Also those living on public assistance, of one form or another, where having another kid means another increase in their assistance check.
    The birth rate for women 15 to 50 years old receiving public assistance income in the last 12 months was 155 births per 1,000 women, about three times the rate for women not receiving public assistance [census.gov]. See page 15.

    With no skills, and no prospects, there seems to be an entire population of breeder-class individuals. And they are not necessarily the immigrants that we all thought they were.

  • Isn't that the point of kids? So you have someone to look after you when you get old? ;-) I jest, I jest.

  • by jemenake (595948) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:20PM (#42145721)
    Frankly, I'm repulsed by this notion that "Hey, we gotta keep pumping out more kids so that we have a big base paying into social security to offset all the geezers taking their benefits". In any other situation, the notion of needing lots of new contributions to help fund the payouts to the holders of mature shares would be called what it really is: a pyramid scheme. Every pyramid scheme, eventually, runs out of sources of new influx as the system grows exponentially. And, in the case of population, it brings with it all sorts of negative consequences, like soaring housing costs in places that don't suck.

    Frankly, I view population growth as akin to deficit spending... you can only get away with it for so long. So, rather than wait until we've exceeded the earth's capacity to support us, let's bite the bullet now. Let's embrace policies which encourage either zero-growth or population reduction and just accept the fact that it means that we'll all have to work a longer % of our life-expectancy.
    • by alen (225700)

      say you have a 401k with mutual funds. who is going to buy the stock from you when you're old if there are less people? what if there are less people to buy less products? less profits and less money for your retirement in your supposedly non-pyramid scheme plan

  • by killmenow (184444) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:31PM (#42145903)

    The Washington Post reports that the U.S. birthrate is at its lowest since 1920, the earliest year with reliable records.

    Except for Hawaii. Their earliest year with reliable records was 1962 apparently.

  • by conspirator23 (207097) on Friday November 30, 2012 @04:25PM (#42146819)
    1. Advanced material wealth and higher education suppress birth rates.
    2. Advanced material wealth and higher education attract immigrants.
    3. Emigrating is difficult under the best and most legal circumstances. Therefore, immigrants tend to be more ambitious and harder working than average.
    4. Consequently, immigrants can supplement native birth in broadening the economic base, while simultaneously adding economic dynamism via their own ambition and the more generalized effects of cultural diffusion.
    5. Profit!!!
    6. GOTO 1.
  • by alexmin (938677) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:06PM (#42150753)

    For making more resources available for mine.

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