A columnist suggests a new baby boom is on the way based on new attitudes toward large families.
We desperately need a new baby boom after the intense drop in the birth rate that is affecting all Americans.
Note that liberals will used America’s low birthrate as a reason we need immigration. But immmigration would have a downside. Too much immigration from foreign cultures effectively means you’re replacing America with some other country. A robust growing American population could benefit more from regulated immigration and assimilate the new arrivals.
Michael Barone asks in the New York Post, “Is America’s birth rate about to start booming?”
Sometimes a society’s values change sharply with almost no one noticing. In 1968, according to a Gallup survey, 70 percent of American adults said that a family of three or more children was “ideal” — about the same number as Gallup surveys starting in 1938. That number helps explain the explosive baby boom after Americans were no longer constrained by depression and world war.
Those values and numbers didn’t last. By 1978, Gallup reported that only 39 percent considered three or more children “ideal.” The numbers have hovered around there ever since, spiking to just 41 percent in the late-1990s tech boom.
The change in values and behavior took time to register.[…]
During the sluggish 2008-2013 economy, young Americans stayed put in tiny child-unfriendly apartments in hip central-coastal cities like New York and San Francisco, and paid high rents […]. This was hailed as a move toward progressive attitudes. But evidently not. As Newgeography proprietor Joel Kotkin has noted, since growth returned, young people have been heading to child-friendly suburbs and exurbs, ditching subway cards for SUV fobs.
All of which raises the possibility of current stubbornly low birth rates being on the verge of a rise, away from the economically and culturally divided low-birth-rate society described in Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart,” and toward something suggested by Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”
Gallup’s analysis of the changing polling results is less optimistic.
The increase since 2007 in the average number of children Americans prefer can be explained mainly by an increase in the proportion of adults who think four or more children is ideal — this rose from 9% in 2007 to 15% today.
Meanwhile, the percentage seeing three children as ideal has been fairly steady near 25%, and there has been no change in the percentage favoring one or no children.
Following a long-term decline in the U.S. birth rate since the Baby Boom era, the drop in U.S. birth rates over the past decade is especially notable because it has persisted long after the 2007-2009 recession ended. Should it continue, the economic implications for the U.S. would be enormous, and intersect with U.S. immigration policy, as the relatively young immigrant population could be vital to maintaining economic growth and keeping the Social Security system viable.
Researchers have explored […] reasons for declining birth rates: the expense of having and raising a child, the effect of motherhood on women’s incomes, shifting priorities as people progress in their careers, women’s lower fertility as they age, and a desire to postpone or avoid the responsibilities of parenthood. While all of these factors may play a role, one thing seems clear from the Gallup data — Americans, including young people, still embrace the idea of multiple children making for an “ideal” family. Whether they ever strive for that ideal in their own lives is a different question.
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