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Too few babies

Family | Experts warn of coming depopulation crisis
by Julia A. Seymour
Posted 7/31/20, 03:32 pm

Americans are not having enough babies.

The United States is one of 91 countries with a fertility rate too low to replace the existing population. New research warns global fertility rates could collapse even further over the next century and cause dramatic population declines.

Since today’s children are tomorrow’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and taxpayers, fewer of them now can result in big problems later. U.S. total fertility, the average number of children per woman, fell from 3.77 in 1957, to just 1.73 in 2018. Widespread contraception, legalized abortion, education, careers, urbanization, and economic insecurity have worked together to dramatically reduce birth rates.

Even women who want children aren’t sure about having them.

“Yes, I fell in love, and I just got married a few months ago,” 32-year-old Gina Tomaine wrote in Philly Magazine. “Once my husband and I entered wedded bliss, we started looking to do married-people things. … But the baby in the baby carriage? For now, the kid question hangs between us, unanswered.”

Her uncertainty mirrors much of her generation’s. Now in their prime childbearing years, millennials are delaying marriage and parenthood and having fewer overall offspring, often citing debt and child care costs. While some young adults don’t find a spouse or suffer involuntary childlessness, others choose “child-free” lives.

“Birth rates are falling further and faster than anyone ever thought possible,” Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher said.

Mosher, who is Catholic and has nine children, said cultural attitudes add to the economic factors working against fertility. “If you have a culture which disparages mothers and motherhood, you don’t get very many children.”

Christian households were once noticeably larger than other American families. But by 2018, researchers found childbearing rates among conservative Protestants had become “statistically indistinguishable” from non-Christians. Catholic family size also has declined.

“Even among Christian couples, the idea of not only delaying children but choosing to not have them at all is, in many circles, noncontroversial,” John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, recently said on the podcast Breakpoint. Noting the Bible calls children “blessings,” he urged Christians to challenge the “culture’s bad assumptions about children” and welcome them.

Welcoming children could become essential if researchers from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics are correct. In contrast to UN projections of continued population growth, Stein Emil Vollset’s study warns of dramatic depopulation by 2100 caused by low fertility rates. The Lancet published his findings on July 14.

The researchers forecast that 183 of 195 countries will experience declining fertility. They expect global fertility to fall to 1.66—far below the replacement level of 2.1. U.S. fertility rates are expected to fall to 1.53 or lower. The population of 23 countries would plummet by half or more.

Study co-author Christopher Murray told the BBC the forecasts are “jaw-dropping,” adding, “It will create enormous social change. It makes me worried because I have an 8-year-old daughter, and I wonder what the world will be like.”

Though the scientists predicted the United States would fare better than many countries, it could still face a 10 percent population decline after 2050. The projections depend on immigration to bolster working-age populations. Without enough immigration, the decline could worsen.

Researchers presented four options for avoiding this future: Support women choosing to have children, restrict birth control, have older people work longer, or encourage immigration.

Author Jonathan V. Last warned of depopulation dangers in his book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting. He explained that without enough babies, societies age and become top-heavy as the labor force and tax base shrinks. That makes it harder to finance programs like Social Security.

The United States already shows signs of top-heaviness. The Census Bureau projects people older than 65 will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history by 2034.

Mosher agreed depopulation hurts economies by reducing the innovation, investment, and productivity typical of working-age adults: “The socially responsible thing to do is to have children, to provide for the future by having children.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Alliance Defending Freedom Mary Kate Marshall

Fighting back

Hundreds of female athletes signed a letter on Wednesday urging the NCAA not to punish the state of Idaho for standing up for women’s sports.

The state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act took effect on July 1, making Idaho the first state to protect girls and women from competing against men who identify as female in sports at all public schools, colleges, and universities. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state on behalf of two transgender athletes and asked a judge to block the law.

Sports stars such as World Cup soccer champion Megan Rapinoe and former tennis star Billie Jean King joined pro-LGBT groups in June to petition the NCAA to bar Idaho from hosting any of the games in the organization’s annual basketball tournament unless the state repeals the act.

But the female athletes signing on to Wednesday’s letter said those calls amounted to bullying tactics. Signers included two-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Donna de Varona, world champion cyclist Jennifer Wagner-Assali, and Sandra Bucha-Kerscher, a marathon swimmer who paved the way for women’s rights in sports. Mary Kate Marshall, one of two college athletes who recently joined a lawsuit defending Idaho from the ACLU attack, also signed.

“Fairness for female athletes shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Marshall, a sophomore cross-country and track runner for Idaho State University. “We athletes have diverse views on many topics, but we stand united in our desire to preserve a level playing field.” —Mary Jackson

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California transgender fund scrapped

California lawmakers sidelined a bill that would have allowed gender-dysphoric youth to receive state funding for experimental and irreversible medical procedures.

Amid a $54 billion budget deficit and an ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the state Senate Health Committee announced on July 28 it had tabled the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund for the remainder of this year. The legislation originally allocated $15 million toward medical services for transgender people, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change surgeries.

“We are grateful that California lawmakers chose not to fund mutilating surgeries and sterilizing hormones that cause irreversible damage,” California Family Council President Jonathan Keller said.

The council and other pro-family groups distributed copies of Wall Street Journal reporter Abigail Shrier’s new book, Irreversible Damage, to state lawmakers on the committee. Shrier’s book documents the explosion of gender clinics in the United States and increased demand for transgender services among young teenage girls, who now account for 70 percent of all sex-change surgeries. —M.J.

Church fires transgender pastor

A Baptist pastor in the Canadian province of Ontario announced to his congregation during a sermon livestreamed in June that he would begin identifying as a woman. Justin Joplin, 41, a married father of two sons, now goes by the name “June.”

“I am not just supposed to be a pastor; I’m supposed to be a woman,” Joplin told congregants.

The 111 members of Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga voted 58 to 53 on July 20 to remove Joplin as pastor.

“The church has journeyed for the past month through a process of attempting to discern God’s will,” church leaders said in a statement obtained by The New York Times. “It was determined, for theological reasons, that it is not in God’s will that June remain as our pastor.”

Lorne Park is an independent Baptist church. Its statement of faith lists the “importance” of Scripture and links to resources from the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, an affiliate of the Baptist World Alliance. —M.J.

Traumatic scene

In Netflix’s new series The Babysitters Club, a tween girl chides two healthcare workers for “misgendering” a young boy who identifies as a female. The streaming giant tweeted the scene on July 23 with the caption “Misgendering is traumatic. This is one of the baseline ways cisgender people can show up for the trans people in their life.”

Critics noted that misgendering is not nearly as harmful as providing inaccurate medical treatment based on a patient’s perceived gender. “As a radiologist, knowing a patient’s SEX, not their psychological relationship to their sex, is imperative,” physician and Catholic radio host Grazie Pozo Christie tweeted. “There are enough human errors in medicine without adding #genderbend ideology and politics into the chart.” —M.J.

Julia A. Seymour

Julia is a correspondent for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and worked in communications in the Washington, D.C., area from 2005 to 2019. Julia resides in Denver, Colo. Follow her on Twitter @SteakandaBible.

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  •  Ernest C Beisner's picture
    Ernest C Beisner
    Posted: Fri, 07/31/2020 04:38 pm

    In my 1990 book Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future, I warned that this was ahead. Sad to say, population-growth fearmongers, many motivated by the legacies of Darwinian "survival of the fittest" and the eugenics movement it spurred, persuaded millions that overpopulation was a real threat. Sad to say, as the news here reveals, most evangelical Christians today don't believe what Psalm 127 says, that children are a gift (not a curse) from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward (not punishment).

  • NEWS2ME
    Posted: Fri, 07/31/2020 11:51 pm

    Re Too Few Babies

    I am sorry to say that I am thankful our daughter is not married or planning to have children. 

    This is a bad time to be bringing children into the world.

    Good is bad and bad is good, and you better NOT say ANYTHING differently. 

    It's a very scary thing to see what the Dems have gotten away with, and continuing same, during my life time.

    I'm not afraid of death and neither is our daughter. 

    It's just a shame what is being allowed and even encouraged in the name of "racism" and "equality."

    I guess if they burn down the whole city we will all be equally starving and homeless. 

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Sat, 08/01/2020 12:29 am

    "This is a bad time to be bringing children into the world."

    In the 1960s, Gloria Gaither had the same thought when she and Bill were expecting their third child. That's part of the story behind the hymn "Because He Lives" -- especially the second stanza: "... but greater still, the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because He lives."
    https://believersportal.com/story-behind-because-he-lives-hymn/

  • JoMaKe
    Posted: Sat, 08/01/2020 04:50 pm

    I totally agree with you!  My children don't want children, either, and I hope they don't have them.  My daughter has a career focused on helping people and admits she'd be a terrible mother.  My son can't find a woman worth marrying. I fear for the lives of my younger children because people are so hypersensitive to everything that is said and done. Most of these people are uneducated and ignorant.  They don't know history and can't put information into historical context.  Everything in history is perceived as wrong.  They push BLM when BLM doesn't even stand for what they think it does. The focus is on equality of rights and possessions, but not on character or work ethic. BLM is a very destructive group and until people realize that this country will go downhill quite fast.  If the Dems win in November, we will lose this country.  

  • JerryM
    Posted: Sat, 08/01/2020 01:29 am

     “If you have a culture which disparages mothers and motherhood, you don’t get very many children.”

    My wife and I have both been troubled by the number of young mothers we meet in evangelical churches who have an almost visceral revulsion to the idea of staying home with their kids.  Something is happening with our church culture to make so many women react this way.  I know one issue is the preaching: We have found pastors very reluctant to preach on the value of motherhood.

  • JoMaKe
    Posted: Sat, 08/01/2020 05:01 pm

    JerryM,

    I honestly believe that the reason there is so much turmoil in the US is because too many children are and were put into daycare. Young people don't know the love and companionship of a mother who stayed home and cared for them. I'll bet many suffer from attachment disorders.  Most working women look down on women who stay home because they don't 'work'.  The stay at home moms look down on the working women because they 'work'. Some women don't have a choice of whether or not to work, they simply have to. Women, but not men, are put in a very difficult situation.  They are expected to work at a career and be a mother, however, they can't do both and do both well.  The children suffer and so does society.  Many men are not supportive since raising the children is 'women's work'. Some men have stepped up and act like men by co-raising their children and also sharing in household chores.  From speaking to other women, these men are few and far between. In this economy, the reason many women work is because they have to. They can't make do on one income or can't depend on their husband/ex to take care of the family.  The younger women see the older women struggling to work and be a mom and the younger women don't want to choose that path for their life. No, you can't have it all.  You can't be all. Something has to give.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Sun, 08/02/2020 05:46 am

    JoMaKe,

    Well said.  My wife and I still remember Dr. James Dobson share that children brought up without stay-at-home moms become adults who feel that something is missing in their lives, though they are not able to articulate what that is.  Regarding "something  has to give", we suggest it may be the desired standard of living: too many couples believe they can't afford to live on one income simply because their desired standard of living is considered non-negotiable. For further reading, we recommend the writings of Sally Clarkson.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sat, 08/01/2020 12:46 pm

    What is the problem?

     

    It is true that we are being brainwashed by social media, where the Christian world view is being subplanted by the secular culture. We used to have a unified view of the Christian world view and truth, where today the church and Christians in general have a smorgasbord of ideas including: sex outside of marriage is OK as long as the two are in love; living together outside of marriage is acceptable; discrimination is evil (many fail to distinguish discernment from discrimination); loving homosexuals is equivalent to accepting their lifestyles and allowing them in the church as members; loving immigrants is allowing everyone into our country - including gang members, drug dealers, those infected by pandemic, child sex trafficking, prostitutes etc; Climate change is a critical issue so we need to use less resources and have fewer kids; loving strangers includes loving the evil and giving them the rope so they can hang us; believing there is no difference spiritually between a Democrat ideology and a Republican ideology; evolution is an acceptable scientific position for the church and it does no damage  to God's word or the gospel; social change embracing liberal ideology should be encouraged by the church; communism and socialism is espoused by the Bible and are good systems of government; BLM cares about black lives; systemic racism is a serious problem in America; police are racist and seek to kill and abuse people of color; reparations is a Christian response to the fact that slavery at one time existed in America; America is an evil country; President Trump is racist; Trump colluded with the Russians; white Christians are privileged and need to bow down to blacks and confess it; getting rid of the police force is a logical response to a racist and hateful police force; Christian feminism is good for the church; statues should be torn down because our founding fathers weren't perfect; a president is like a pastor of a church and if he doesn't meet high standards then we should ensure that the much more evil candidate is elected; the most important standard is to have a PC church and culture; we need to be more spiritually minded so we should put less emphasis on the political and fighting the cultural war. Sadly, few study their bibles today so we all are embracing ideologies that are hostile to the Bible and more generally truth.

  • JoMaKe
    Posted: Sat, 08/01/2020 05:07 pm

    BLM cares more about black women, gay, lesbian and trans women than they care about black men.  They call each other commrades and affirm queer people. They are anti-nuclear family.  This is not an organization that anybody (especially Christians) should be supporting.

    https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

  •  Varenikje's picture
    Varenikje
    Posted: Sun, 08/02/2020 11:12 pm

    Oh, my. I pray for our country... It feels so overwhelming! 

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Mon, 08/03/2020 05:02 pm

    Population is a sticky issue. Livestock farmers know they can only graze a certain number of cows on their pastures, otherwise the result is ruined land and skinny cows.  Same with ecosystems. And there is the problem of rich nation importing beef and other luxury foods from cash-starved poor nations.
    Also, we should notice that the massively increased populations in much of the world for the past 200 years is primarily due to improved sanitation, medicine, and nutrition. In other words, fewer people are dying, leaving more people to live.  Ethically, of course, we try to help people live.
    On the other hand, children are a blessing when resources are available to raise them well. And children are a burden when impoverished people have more.
    Okay, the above is science. As for God's creation order, Christian couples in stable marriages should be encouraged to have children. Be fruitful and multiply. But Genesis also says that animals are to multiply and fill the earth. There is only so much space on earth. In other words, population dynamics are not simple.

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