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https://apnews.com/article/birth-rates-science-coronavirus-pandemic-health-d51571bda4aa02eafdd42265912f1202

I’m really interested in seeing what they find when separating out the pre-pandemic conceptions from in-pandemic conceptions for a clearer picture.

I’m not one to believe that we should keep growing at, for example, MY rate, lol, but I’m also in a generation of Social Security insecurity, so... eek!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I’m really interested in seeing what they find when separating out the pre-pandemic conceptions from in-pandemic conceptions for a clearer picture.

I’m not one to believe that we should keep growing at, for example, MY rate, lol, but I’m also in a generation of Social Security insecurity, so... eek!

 

The latest full term 2020 infants could have been conceived was March, just as the first shut downs started. Most of these births would have been conceived in 2019 long before the pandemic was on the radar. The 2021 numbers are guaranteed to be worse, even if the economy booms and we put the virus in the rear view mirror.

I'm not as worried about Social Security because we can increase our workforce by raising immigration quotas for H-2 visas if we need them to maintain economic growth. We are not in the position of Japan where immigration isn't politically acceptable and their birth rates have tanked for decades.

Edited by chiguirre
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Posted (edited)

DH and I were just talking about this.  After knowing no one in our local circle that had a baby in 2020, we now know a half dozen people who had or will have babies in 2021.  We are really interested to see if this is part of any larger trend, or just some very localized coincidence of people we know (some new, young couples starting to attend our church, etc). 

Edited by kirstenhill
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48 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

The latest full term 2020 infants could have been conceived was March, just as the first shut downs started. Most of these births would have been conceived in 2019 long before the pandemic was on the radar. The 2021 numbers are guaranteed to be worse, even if the economy booms and we put the virus in the rear view mirror.

I'm not as worried about Social Security because we can increase our workforce by raising immigration quotas for H-2 visas if we need them to maintain economic growth. We are not in the position of Japan where immigration isn't politically acceptable and their birth rates have tanked for decades.

I don’t know the entirety of how H2 visas work. Does that increase the ability to obtain permanency, or are we just talking a rotating in and out of people to help “us” while we borrow “them”?

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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

I don’t know the entirety of how H2 visas work. Does that increase the ability to obtain permanency, or are we just talking a rotating in and out of people to help “us” while we borrow “them”?

There is a path to a green card and citizenship. It takes a while but it's doable.

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I'm not surprised, but these numbers aren't Pandemic-related.  The shut-down started in March- and a baby conceived in March was born in December or January.   I'm interested to see 2021 numbers.  I do know a few younger families who have had babies or are due soon, but not a lot.  Younger women tend to have fewer kids and have them older.  

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I read an article where they were looking into possible effects on male fertility following having Covid. I don’t think they had results yet but wondered if anyone else had seen anything about this?

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I was listening to a super interesting NPR interview the other day about the decline in populations world-wide.  I don't know about pandemic numbers, but the decline was already happening before then.   They discussed how some countries will potentially be devastated by this as time goes by...  Their infrastructure depends on enough people to support it.  

But he said the "secret weapon" that the US has is immigrants.  Immigrants will keep us afloat, and we need them.

Anyway, it was an interesting and thought-provoking interview!

Actually, this was on our state's "sub-station" of NPR, so I'm linking it here in case it's not on NPR:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/02/25/darrell-bricker-why-america-needs-more-immigrants

 

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I saw this the other day.  It says sperm counts have dropped significantly in the past few decades.  The researcher blames micro plastics. she says most couples will need help conceiving by 2045.  Kind of scary to think about.  
 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2021/mar/28/shanna-swan-fertility-reproduction-count-down

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5 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

A reduced birth rate worldwide would benefit the planet

countries need to think of a better model than constantly increasing population to back up flawed model of living

Most countries are seeing reduced birth rates but slowing down to a steady rate or a gentle decline is very different than jumping off a cliff. 

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I'm pretty concerned about the going off the cliff scenarios worldwide. When you have conversations with people, they simply refuse to believe it. And I'm dubious that the off the cliff scenario would actually be "good" for the environment. The absolute chaos that would be brought about by the economic collapse worldwide over the course of a couple of decades might be pretty bad. I'd much rather see a steady decrease/leveling off.

I would love to see some data about what's the economic/political situation effects, what's the lack of social support effects, what's the sperm count/infertility effects, what's the shifting lifestyle effects, etc. It's a really complex situation.

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8 hours ago, frogger said:

Most countries are seeing reduced birth rates but slowing down to a steady rate or a gentle decline is very different than jumping off a cliff. 

Exactly. I’m not going to pretend to remember all the details from when I taught Human Geography with really solid resources that didn’t require me to become an expert in order to convey the needed information...., but I do remember the population pyramids, and the shapes that have led to serious problems!

A 4% drop in one year, combined with the downward trend before it, combined with how many Zs (trickling into biological, but not US-socially-expected primes) are already intentionally planning not to have kids...  Red flags!

 

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I have never heard about the jumping off the cliff until this thread today.

 It isn't something of concern over here at all.  In fact reducing population worldwide is looked upon  favourably . That is why there is such a big push to delay marriage and increase education in poor countries - it reduces birth rates. there has been a big push for this with some success in countries like  Sri Lanka 

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24 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I have never heard about the jumping off the cliff until this thread today.

 It isn't something of concern over here at all.  In fact reducing population worldwide is looked upon  favourably . That is why there is such a big push to delay marriage and increase education in poor countries - it reduces birth rates. there has been a big push for this with some success in countries like  Sri Lanka 

I don’t think we (general) spend all that much time thinking about the trade offs.
I do believe overpopulation is bad for lots and lots of reasons (says a hypocritical mom of 5, lol), but that doesn’t negate the troubles that come with quick and drastic reduction.

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1 hour ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I have never heard about the jumping off the cliff until this thread today.

 It isn't something of concern over here at all.  In fact reducing population worldwide is looked upon  favourably . That is why there is such a big push to delay marriage and increase education in poor countries - it reduces birth rates. there has been a big push for this with some success in countries like  Sri Lanka 

I think this is where most people are thinking as well. We're so used to thinking that population can only ever rise that it's really hard to understand that there are an increasing number of worldwide scenarios where it doesn't just drop, it drops a LOT in a relatively short historical time frame. 

Of course, there are also lots of scenarios where it continues to rise or... best possibility... it levels off and possibly has a bumpy long term decline. But none of this is for sure. And the extremes - a continued meteoric rise or an off the cliff - would be bad for humanity, just for different reasons.

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Posted (edited)

We don't talk enough about broad-picture sustainability. Environmental sustainability gets discussed, but economic and social sustainability get very little attention.

One thing we ought to be addressing but aren't is the reality that a constantly growing economy is not going to be a long-term reality in a world of declining or even stable human population. Even with mechanization and artificial intelligence ramping up the production of goods and services (usually at the expense of non-renewable planetary resources) there are in fact limits to consumption of goods and services by each individual human. Our entire economic system is based on the premise that ever-increasing wealth for those at the top, driven by ever-expanding markets, is the normal and desirable and healthy path. Expanding markets however have been driven by resource-hungry technology and expanding worldwide populations. At some point (soon!) we are going to need to address what a sustainable non-expanding economy looks like on a national and global level.

Social stability is fragile. I am very positive towards immigration in general, but any given community will struggle to accept and adapt to large numbers of immigrants. Immigration is an inherently destabilizing force, for both the immigrants themselves and the communities they move into. If countries with low birthrates must rely on high immigration rates to maintain economic viability, that immigration will come at a high cost in social and political upheaval. It's going to be a strain. And as birth rates drop across the globe the price of emigration will be too high for the losing countries as well.

One possible path towards sustainable birth rates (allowing for population levelling or a manageable gradual decline) in an era where the trend is towards a potentially drastic drop would be significant financial support for at-home parents. We've made great progress towards allowing women access to career opportunities commensurate with men, but the realities of pregnancy, nursing, and general child-rearing make it very, very hard to both have a successful career and raise more than a couple of children. Somehow people never think about the reality that a system that only at a stretch works for someone with two children falls apart quickly when a woman has more than two children. And given that some women will have only one child and some will have none, birth rates will not be near replacement levels unless some women are having larger families. 

But the position of a woman raising a large family is precarious. It often requires stepping out of the workforce, or at least out of the career path, for many years. This means families  must get by on a single income, with more people relying on that income. It leaves both the women themselves and their children vulnerable. An example of one aspect we rarely think of: at-home moms don't garner social security disability credits. If I were to become disabled and lose the ability to do everything I currently do to care for my family I would not be eligible for social security disability benefits to offset that loss because I have been out of the workforce too long. I put in long days of work every single day but get zero credit for them. 

A system that includes robust benefits and protections for caregivers would reduce the vulnerability and risk women take upon themselves by having larger families.

Edited by maize
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Some of the stresses of the demographic cliff may actually be eased by covid’s death toll.  As awful as it is, in broad demographic trends, a reduction of the older and less economically productive population shortly before the demographic cliff in young workers arrives would mitigate some of the stresses.

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This was just a quick search, without looking into where they get their projections, but it’s the gist I’m concerned about.  Look at the projected percentages for 2100, and think about the difficulties we already have with elderly care. And it isn’t as though we aren’t going to feel the squeeze between now and then - it’s about to get sticky a lot sooner than that.

It could also be worrisome if the younger generations were to do a 180.  The disproportionate “working age” squeeze they’d already have would be subject to, as maize pointed out, the additional pressures to keep a parent of several kids out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

5DB0E718-0A4C-4B3E-BBE9-C12873622460.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

This was just a quick search, without looking into where they get their projections, but it’s the gist I’m concerned about.  Look at the projected percentages for 2100, and think about the difficulties we already have with elderly care. And it isn’t as though we aren’t going to feel the squeeze between now and then - it’s about to get sticky a lot sooner than that.

It could also be worrisome if the younger generations were to do a 180.  The disproportionate “working age” squeeze they’d already have would be subject to, as maize pointed out, the additional pressures to keep a parent of several kids out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

5DB0E718-0A4C-4B3E-BBE9-C12873622460.jpeg

This does concern me.  (bolded)  My mother's long term care facility is already experiencing major staff shortage.  Her center is a beautiful, really nice environment (as much as it can be...) and they still cannot get enough help.  Employees who refuse Covid vaccines keep causing the facility to be shut-down for two more weeks.  But there's nothing they can do about it.  If the facility starts requiring Covid vaccines for employees, the employees would quit and the facility would definitely not have enough to keep it going.  Also, a majority of their employees are immigrants ~ and despite being fearful of the vaccine, they are kind, compassionate people, yet due to Covid and leftover immigration policies, that group has decreased as well.  What will happen when we young-end baby-boomers (I was born in the 60's) and beyond reach that age?

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