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Hardship Story Behind Declining Birth Rate



June 06, 2010 – Comments (3)

Quite a while back I presented my opinion that the birth rate was going to go down.  This Financial Armageddon post links to a number of hard luck stories of how the recession is hurting people that invested enormously in their training and are doing jobs that you don't even need high school to do.

What got my attention is this part:

But, if "recovery" means getting back to where you were before things fell apart, many aren't even close. To people like Lechner, 43, who came to North Carolina's Research Triangle full of hope for a bountiful future, it's meant resigning himself to lower expectations:

That any mental stimulation he gets will come from crossword puzzles, conversations with his wife or the weekly pub trivia nights with the guys — not from his work. That if he ever manages to get another job in advertising, it'll probably be too late for any awards or recognition. And that his 4-year-old son, Jerry, will likely be his only child.

The birth rate is heading down, you can count on it. 

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 06, 2010 at 10:28 PM, Tastylunch (28.72) wrote:

>>The birth rate is heading down, you can count on it. 

It's kind of odd if you think about it. Typically upwards mobility actually decreases birth rates more so than downwards. You see this phenomenon in a huge variety of species. Envrionmental stress usually causes individuals to have more children  ( a good strategy if you are concerned that some of your offsping may not survive).

you see it across the world too, There is a pretty strongly indentifiable correlation between affluence and amount of offppring regardless of cultural, religious and political variations.

I guess timescale might explain the anomaly here. Perhaps ths Paul Lechner constrained by his debt, underemployment may have less children as a result but his child Jerry may end up having more than he may have.

So over one generation less, over multiple generations more.

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#2) On June 06, 2010 at 11:34 PM, simplemts (< 20) wrote:

Tasty, I agree that upward mobility decreases birth rates.  I believe the primary reason that lower economic classes have more children is due to their economic hardship needing more "Helping Hands".  Specifically, lower income countries/households tend to have more children as they are more agriculture based than industrial/technology based.  As a result, I am not surprised to see birth rates decline in developed countries, but would be shocked to see them decline in developing countries such as India for example.

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#3) On June 06, 2010 at 11:51 PM, MikeMark (28.95) wrote:

>>So over one generation less, over multiple generations more.

Hey Tastylunch, interesting thought there. I've wondered why the baby boom happened when it did. Now I have a plausible answer: offspring of teens and children growing up in the Great Depression who underwent environmental stress produced more children. Maybe that's why the baby boom began it's upward trend around 1938. Then it really spiked with the war, but the trend was already there. Those young people had already experienced the stress in their environment that would make them want and need more children.

Another interesting aspect of this is the periods. The stressful period and the baby boom period appear to have approximately the same time length. It looks like about 14-17 years in the case where we have a good picture.

That begs the question: I wonder what time frame we might be looking at?



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