Dear Rev. Know-it-all;
How can you be so irresponsible as to tell these lies about world population? The planet is overcrowded and the struggle for resources is the reason for war and poverty throughout the world. Your “barefoot and pregnant” theology is surely at the root of the world’s current problems. If you really loved the poor you would be passing out birth control in your church vestibule and driving poor young girls to family planning clinics to mercifully and humanely end unwanted pregnancies.
I may be mistaken, but I am just looking at the statistics. According to United Nations data, the world total fertility rate (number of children born by each woman or TFR) was 4.95, worldwide in 1955. It is now 2.36. The worldwide replacement rate is about 2.33. That means that every woman in the world must have two and one third children in order to keep the population stable. Obviously not every woman on the planet will have 2.33 children. Some will not be able to have any at all, and thus others will have to take up the slack, so to speak. So, 2.36 children per woman on spaceship earth means that we are right at replacement rate, more or less. That should be good news, no? No. Were it to stop and stay there, that might be just fine, but it isn’t stopping there. It can’t stop there. The decline is too precipitous. Like a car without brakes, it seems to be accelerating in its downhill race. In just the space of 60 years, the fertility rate of the whole world has been cut in half. The decline is far more dramatic in most of the Islamic world. Iran had a TFR (total fertility rate) of around 7 children per woman in 1960. It has plummeted to 1.85, as of 2014 estimates. Demographers, (the people who study this stuff) are astonished at this fertility drop in Iran. It is unprecedented in world history.
Why do populations drop? Primarily through urbanization. Kids are useful on the farm. They are fairly useless in a city. In 1950 about 30 percent of people lived in cities. Just over 70 percent lived in the country. It was about 50/50 around 2006 it is now about 55% city to 45% percent country. It is projected to be about 30% country 70% city a little before 2050. This is happening at a very steady rate. How many 18 year olds do you know who can’t wait to get away from home and move to the country?
By 2050 the great bulk of humanity will have never seen a live chicken or cow or horse or goat, much less know how to raise one. No, they will all go to university in the big city and major in gender studies or cosmetology, assuming that it will be the duties of lesser minds to milk cows and plant corn. We are increasingly incompetent in the skills that we daily depend on, things like how to grow a tomato or build a chair. I include myself in that sorry lot of neo-pseudo-intellectuals who can use words like neo and pseudo. We neo-pseudo types have very little use for children. One or two are enough to fulfill an ornamental function. We will probably not be picking corn in the near future, and so do not need the indentured labor of children.
Shouldn’t all this be good news? Won’t it mean less pressure on the world’s resources? Not necessarily. Allow me once again to quote the United Nations Database:
The increasing proportions of aged persons have been accompanied, in most populations, by steady declines in the proportion of young persons. Over the last half century, the proportion of children (0-14 years old) dropped worldwide from 34 per cent in 1950 to 30 per cent in 2000. Over the next 50 years, the proportion of children is projected to decline by almost one third, so that by the year 2050, the share of persons aged 60 or over in the population will, for the first time in history, match that of persons younger than 15.
In other words, lots more feeble old people like me; a lot fewer young people like I used to be. In China, for instance, it is estimated that 25% of the country will be over 65 years old by 2050. These 250 million geezers will be dependent on a small group of spoiled only children who haven’t a clue what it means to have a sibling. I was listening not long ago to the amusing story of a Chinese foreign exchange student who was invited to meet an American student’s brothers and sisters. The American student explained that he had 5 brothers and sisters.
The Chinese student said, “You mean your cousins?
The American said, “No, I mean the five other children of my parents.”
The young Chinese student, dumbfounded, asked, “How is that possible?”
The idea of large families has been dead in China since the government began to encourage two-child families in 1970 and then legislated one-child families in 1979. In 2013, certain groups in China were allowed to request permission to have two children. Two million requests were expected. Only one million were made. After two generations of small families, the Chinese have gotten used to not having children. They may even prefer it. If the government will take care of you when you are old, why have children?
A disturbing coda to the China situation: There are millions more men than women in China because if you’re going to have children, you want a son to carry on the name and take care of you in old age. Sex-selective abortions always seem to favor the male gender. It would be humorous were it not so tragic, that the twin sacraments of the feminist movement, birth control and abortion, succeed mostly in limiting the number of women in the world, and increasing the number of men. Young men, who have no prospect of marriage, family and meaningful work, tend to join armies and kill women.
It seems that abortion rights and easy access to artificial birth control have not been always the boon to women that people thought they would be. The Hoover Institute's Mary Eberstadt wrote in First Things that Pope Paul VI predicted “…a general lowering of moral standards throughout society; a rise in infidelity; a lessening of respect for women by men; and the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments”
Oops! He was right. Who would ever have believed that the largest country in the world would force abortions on the unwilling and that the United States would actively encourage abortions? The Church has been kicked out of the bedroom. Now the government has moved in. Great job, feminists!
Continued next week