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US Birthrate Plummets To Record Low

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the peaceful-movie-theaters-and-airline-flights-hit-record-high dept.

Earth 567

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that the U.S. birthrate is at its lowest since 1920, the earliest year with reliable records. The rate decreased to 63.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age — a little more than half of its peak, which was in 1957. The overall birthrate decreased by 8 percent between 2007 and 2010, but the decline is being led by immigrant women hit hard by the recession, with a much bigger drop of 14 percent among foreign-born women. Overall, the average number of children a U.S. woman is predicted to have in her lifetime is 1.9, slightly less than the 2.1 children required to maintain current population levels. Although the declining U.S. birthrate has not created the kind of stark imbalances found in graying countries such as Japan or Italy, it should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers, says Roberto Suro, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California. 'We've been assuming that when the baby-boomer population gets most expensive, that there are going to be immigrants and their children who are going to be paying into [programs for the elderly], but in the wake of what's happened in the last five years, we have to reexamine those assumptions,' he said. 'When you think of things like the solvency of Social Security, for example, relatively small increases in the dependency ratio can have a huge effect.'"

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567 comments

OK, so... (1, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#42145095)

... this means I'll get back $1 for every 20 I kicked into the system since 1969?

Re:OK, so... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145245)

At least you'll get something back, geezer. I don't expect social security to be around when I retire.

Re:OK, so... (5, Interesting)

jemenake (595948) | about a year ago | (#42145511)

At least you'll get something back, geezer. I don't expect social security to be around when I retire.

... and for less contribution. I once saw a chart someone compiled where it showed the average tax rate paid by people of each age. For example, someone born in 1950... they added up the median income for a 16-year-old in 1966, a 17-year-old in 1967, etc, to get an idea of how much money they've earned over their entire life (adjusting for inflation, of course). They then looked at how much tax they paid, on average, at each of those ages to figure out, over your lifetime, what percentage of your earnings went to the 'gummint'. What they found was that, for senior citizens, because they paid such low tax rates back before the 70's or so, their effective lifetime tax-rate was something like less than half of someone in their 20's today.

Re:OK, so... (1, Troll)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#42145703)

SS will be around when you/we retire. It's a separate tax that goes into a separate fund. That fund is presently about 3 trillion dollars, which is good because for 2 years now it's paying out more than its taking in due to the baby boomers starting to retire. Should the fund ever run dry they will have to stop paying more than is going in, at which point it will truely be the younger people paying for the older people. But it will not go away. I say this because if it goes away entirely they will have to eliminate the taxes that pay for it.V

That said, I suspect Obama wants it to get into trouble sooner rather than later - hence the payroll tax cut which normally goes into social security. He probably figures if it goes bust it will "have to" become part of the normal federal budget. Not sure what the agenda might be, but the rules of the game would change dramatically if it were not separately taxed.

Re:OK, so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145327)

Blame the politicians. They are the ones that for some irresponsible reason decided to treat social security as a IOU paid out by the younger generation instead of a retirement investment program paid for by the people benefiting from it.

Re:OK, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145805)

Social Security is an insurance program moron. That's why it's called the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program. It's funded via the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax, FICA, which if you look at you W2, you will note there is a little box labeled FICA and a dollar amount. It was always intended to be a pay as you go program exactly like every other insurance plan in the world.

All that happens with social security is workers are taxed to reduce their consumption, old farts are paid to increase their consumption. And remember if there was no social security, likely you'd be shelling out cash to support your parents or grandparents.

capatcha: depends

Re:OK, so... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145675)

Stop your whining. It was your generation in power that decided that starting multiple wars, deregulating the financial system, and then cutting taxes at the same time was a good idea. Your generation doesn't deserve shit for retirement compared to how your generation looted and pillaged the country thinking that your kids would clean it up.

Re:OK, so... (0)

NiteMair (309303) | about a year ago | (#42145685)

Exactly - Social Security is basically just a government-run ponzi scheme.

Having been born only a little bit after you were - I was raised with the assumption that it won't exist by the time I'm of retirement age, so I better find a better way to save.

ECHO CHAMBER RR RRR RRR !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145103)

Slow

Day

Here

Make

That

Always !!

Immigrants... right (-1, Troll)

oic0 (1864384) | about a year ago | (#42145139)

They are relying in (illegal I assume) immigrants to fund social security and other programs? yeah that will go well considering illegal immigrants often pay no taxes... and if we suddenly let them they would on average get more back than they pay in lol.

Re:Immigrants... right (4, Insightful)

Lithdren (605362) | about a year ago | (#42145193)

...who said they were illegal, and why would you assume simply refering to an 'immigrant' would result in only illegal immigrants?

Wow, just...wow.

Re:Immigrants... right (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#42145277)

Even if you are here illegally, you get payroll deductions. In fact, since you're afraid of the government you may decide not to file a tax return and claim your refund. You might consume more services at the local level, such as going to the ER for medical care which is expensive. There's a lot of data sloshing around; but it's clear that illegal immigrants pay some taxes. They definitely can't avoid sales tax which is pretty high in California now. For the types of jobs immigrants work, that sales tax is a pretty big hit since they'll be spending a large portion of their income right away--even if it's under the table and has no payroll deduction.

Note, I'm not defending the idea of coming to a country illegally. We need to secure the borders, and address the supply and demand for labor in a way that's fair, productive, and beneficial to the whole country. I'm just saying that it's not accurate to say they pay "no taxes".

Re:Immigrants... right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145427)

This is one of the reason I find the Fair Tax [fairtax.org] to be an interesting idea.

Re:Immigrants... right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145569)

Maybe it depends on the state? In California for sure if you are here illegally you get paid in cash and pay no taxes and no social security at all. It is against the law to hire an illegal, so you sure as heck don't put them on a payroll and have it be known that you hired illegals. Years ago it used to be legal and yes, they could get normal payroll and deductions. Now that it is not legal to hire illegals they mostly all get cash payments.

Re:Immigrants... right (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#42145281)

You do know there are millions of legal immigrants flooding into the country right? The bar for legal US immigration is low and it is intentionally made easy to immigrate. That is why some people don't think we should be giving a free pass to the illegals. They essentially bypassed taking a couple days to learn the Constitution and a basic English test and an oath of loyalty to the US. People who have a problem with those requirements aren't our kind of people.

And the article didn't say they were depending on taxes from the immigrants, they are depending on their children and their children will be citizens whether the parents were or not.

Re:Immigrants... right (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#42145423)

They essentially bypassed taking a couple days to learn the Constitution and a basic English test and an oath of loyalty to the US.

Legally immigrating to the US does not require one to do any of those things. Only those who wish to take US citizenship, which legal immigrants are eligible for only after years of living in the US, must do those things. And many legal immigrants to the US are happy to stay at the level of permanent residency, never applying for citizenship.

Why the argument for more immigrants anyway? (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | about a year ago | (#42145519)

Why does the author seem to argue for increased immigration? He says we need more tax paying immigrants and their children to pay for Social Security in the future but the number of jobs available is effectively decreasing per capita in the country and we all know unemployed people, natives and immigrants, are a net drain on our government services. So if we restrict immigration to stabilize or decrease our supply of labor to meet the current demand for labor we will have to massively cut Social Security benefits to stabilize it.

This looks to me to be a Catch-22.

My immodest proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145737)

Time to eat the elderly!

Re:My immodest proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145821)

Soylent Green is people!

Re:Immigrants... right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145415)

You're a complete moron. Go to school and learn economics, statistics, and demographics, loser.

We must allow immigration (2, Insightful)

jjo (62046) | about a year ago | (#42145437)

Why do you assume immigrants must be illegal? The law should allow the amount of legal immigration we need, and the immigrants that will help our country grow. Immigration is vital to our economy now, and will become more so as the population ages.

Young, vital, driven immigrants are just the sort of people we need, yet nativist know-nothings act as if immigrants are a blight, not paying taxes or contributing anything to the economy. If we shut off immigration, as the xenophobic fringe demands, we will look like Japan soon, with an aging population and not enough young people to support them.

The USA was built by immigrants. It would be the height of folly to excessively limit immigration now when we most need it.

Re:We must allow immigration (1)

jjsimp (2245386) | about a year ago | (#42145571)

I don't think the arguments against securing our borders are because of the legal immigrants. The stink is about the illegals using our resources and not paying tax like the rest of us do. I am sure most legal immigrants pay taxes on their income. I have no qualms about legal immigration, even from mexico, it's the illegal immigrants I have a problem with. And, yes I know they take most of our crappy low paying jobs that most people wouldn't work. They still do not pay taxes on their income and use our resources.

Not a record low (0)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42145171)

However, it's the lowest it's been in 90 years. The US birthrate was very high before the 20th century. The population was relatively small, most people were farmers, and needed all those kids. My mother is 83 and the baby of the family, and she has three brothers and six sisters. Back then, that was normal. before 1900 the average family was even bigger.

This is only a record low for most of our lifetimes.

Re:Not a record low (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#42145359)

How is being the very lowest it's ever been recorded as being since we began reliably recording it "not a record low"? Which word are we disagreeing on here, "low", or "record", since it certainly qualifies as a "record low" for any definition of either of these words I'm aware of. And if it's only a record low for most of our lifetimes, do tell us when it was lower? Which year? And how and where was that record recorded?

It IS a record low (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42145767)

I'm curious to know this as well.

"Not a record low" might make sense if data was limited to the boomer generation, which it clearly isn't since they're (per TFS) reliable since 1920. In the context of a --widely documented-- plummeting of birthrates during the industrial revolution, I'd be hard pressed to think this is anything but the lowest record ever for the US. 1920, in case it needs reminding, was a year after the Spanish Flu pandemic, and in the midst of the economic depression that followed WWI -- shit tons of bad debt got liquidated almost overnight, so it didn't last like the current one. In a country that never say a battle on its soil after it entered the latter in 1917, at that.

FWIW, that birthrate seems to have "little prospects for a better economic future" written all over it. Probably for good reasons, too.

On a separate note, it might be time to open the immigration floodgates with Mexico. Oh wait [washingtonpost.com] !

Re:Not a record low (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#42145457)

However, it's the lowest it's been in 90 years. The US birthrate was very high before the 20th century. The population was relatively small, most people were farmers, and needed all those kids. My mother is 83 and the baby of the family, and she has three brothers and six sisters. Back then, that was normal. before 1900 the average family was even bigger.

This is only a record low for most of our lifetimes.

I'm confused, you claim this isn't a record low because it used to be much much higher 100+ years ago? Your post honestly doesn't make any sense to me. This really is almost certainly a low for the US, since as you yourself point out, before the advent of modern medicine and technology, many women would have 5+ children. They needed to: not only was the help around the farm vital to succeed, but with the death rate being so high, especially among infants, the population could only stay steady if everyone who could had a lot of kids.

Also, I should point out that it is a record low, quite literally: it's the lowest on record, which by definition is a "record low". It may or may not be the lowest ever for the US, but it quite likely is.

Re:Not a record low (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145707)

I'm also confused, but maybe he's confusing "low" with "decline"? Meaning that a decline of 8% is nothing compared to the declines seen previously in the century (not sure if that would be true, but it would connect to his anecdote)

Re:Not a record low (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145845)

What really bothers me is the 3 interesting upmods. I know this is slashdot and all "I don't read the article, or summary, or sometimes even the title," but do we not even read the comment we're moderating now?

Re:Not a record low (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145723)

> The US birthrate was very high before the 20th century....

Wait... you're arguing that it isn't a record low because in the past it was much higher?

This word "low"... I don't think it means what you think it means.

Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (4, Interesting)

Pollux (102520) | about a year ago | (#42145221)

They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145453)

The old generation mentality is wrong, and unsustainable. lower birth rates should be encouraged. It makes for a higher standard of living for all, and a higher quality of living for all. who knows, maybe fewer people could help create more social-cohesion and community:something many people lament this era is lacking in.

the only downside is the current social programs have been geared for continual exponential growth (more young-ens sustaining the geezers) and they look a little scary with a low to negative growth rate.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145567)

No the old generation mentality was right. Why do you think it worked for so many thousands of years and yet we will somehow sustain a population with nobody having kids anymore. What, do you think you're going to magically live forever if you don't procreate? Are you leaving it up to someone else to have your 2.3 children? Good! I don't want more people who think like you to propagate.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (4, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year ago | (#42145695)

The world's population doesn't need to be as big as it is now. There are benefits to large populations (certain cultural output that can be replicated cheaply scales almost perfectly with population), but there are also downsides (natural resources must be divided). Exponential growth must eventually hit a limit, and presumably there is some optimal range for population. Why does everybody always assume that it's "what we have now, forever", for every value of now ever?

Anyway, I don't think the United States population is even on a decline, even with a 1.9 birthrate, because of immigration.
http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/11/30/187246/us-birthrate-plummets-to-record-low# [slashdot.org]
(How is it selfish to not have children until you live in a nice neighbourhood with good insurance and creature comforts? Why isn't it considered selfish to have the kid first and then have to scramble to provide for it?)

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145719)

No the old generation mentality was right. Why do you think it worked for so many thousands of years and yet we will somehow sustain a population with nobody having kids anymore. What, do you think you're going to magically live forever if you don't procreate? Are you leaving it up to someone else to have your 2.3 children? Good! I don't want more people who think like you to propagate.

You aren't going to magically live forever, whether your propagate or not.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145725)

wha wha what? Was the population 6 billion a thousand years ago?

The older generation is wrong in today's world. We could go for a few decades of birth decline and thin out the population by a few billion.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145515)

So it is selfish to want you kids born into a home that is already financially stable? Personally, I find it grossly irresponsible to attempt to have children when you are constantly broke.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145531)

They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

Couldn't have said it better myself. It isn't all that long ago that the reason for marriage, the definition of marriage was children; either you wanted children or you had to get married (out of wedlock pregnancy). The problem is that now we view children as a burden rather than the gift they are. All you have to do is look at the stories about people whose children died because they forgot to drop them off at daycare on the way to work and left the kid in a sealed car in 90 degree heat (for those Fahrenheit challenged, that's hot).

Those anti-gay marriage amendments are already too late. We've already redefined marriage and it's all about the two people in the relationship...until they get tired of one another and decide to divorce. Families and marriages have become two separate things in the minds of most people whether they realize it or not.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42145545)

They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

I suppose "One's" never stopped to consider that maybe those Americans who make fiscal security a priority over popping out offspring do so for the benefit of said potential offspring.

Sure, the wife and I could have had kids as soon as we got married - and those kids would have grown up in abject poverty as a result. Instead, we decided to focus on getting financially stable first, so any children we do end up having get a better start than either of us did.

Sounds to me like "One's" is the person who doesn't deserve to procreate.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (5, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#42145555)

Another take on it is that people who are responsible, and realize how much children cost and how much investment it takes in them, wait a long time to have kids and don't have many. Having a house and a two car garage, and having them paid off is SMART, it's how you can live your life without being a slave in someone else's salt mine (and making the kinds of decisions that slaves make).

I don't see this trend as "bad", it seems pretty good to me. We have too many people, we consume too many resources, we don't really have enough to go around for any length of time. Let the population shrink to what it needs to be given the level of technology we have available.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#42145585)

They would always comment about how, when couples back-in-the-day got married, the first thing on their list of wants was children. Now, the list of wants usually starts with a house, two cars, living in a nice neighborhood, better insurance, a bigger TV, a good living room set... One's take on the matter: "America's so selfish nowadays it doesn't deserve children."

Perhaps for a select few. However, I believe it is the financial squeeze put on families that is the bigger issue.
In the past you would work most of your life at a single company and collect a pension. With security like that it was much easier to have a child, knowing they would be taken care of. With the economic uncertainty now why would you want to have more than 1 or at most 2 children.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145607)

Of course, back-in-the-day you didn't get married until you could support a family. Which would mean you'd need a house, cars, sufficient insurance, etc. The real change here is when couples get married, not the conditions they look to achieve before having kids.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42145667)

In the UK a couple where only one person works can't afford kids any more. Even with two working parents it is hard, and some people feel they should be full time parents.

I have a pretty good job but kids are out of the question for the foreseeable future, even if I did want them.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (5, Insightful)

xs650 (741277) | about a year ago | (#42145701)

Overpopulation is a problem that is getting worse, the selfish ones are the ones that have lots of children.

Re:Thoughts from my great uncles and aunts... (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year ago | (#42145813)

So, your out of touch old people are saying that being financially stable enough to have a safe location (ideal in raising children) and enough money to live comfortably (ideal in raising children) prior to having children is... selfish? Further, that the very idea of not forcing yoru offspring upon the world is selfish?

Well, my out of touch old people think Obama is personally going to break into their houses at night and steal their guns. All I can do is shake my head sadly and look to the future. If anything, fewer children should mean that we can better focus on educating them such that we can leave the "old ways" behind.

pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145235)

i have an idea where this is coming from...

must be my son's school then (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42145263)

they built a new addition over the last 3 years to handle more students and they are still getting more applications than seats. this is for kindergarten. 160 some seats and they got almost 200 applications. this is for a NYC public school

Re:must be my son's school then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145749)

I'm not following. The story is about how there are fewer children being born, and you're trying to relate it to your son's school who has more children than they expected...?

Need more immigration. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145267)

This is an issue that doesn't get enough attention. Let's face it, if we are to have any near future (20-50yrs) for entitlement programs, we need to be encouraging both immigration and reproduction.

Of course, if we want a long-term future for entitlements, we're going to have to reform them to some form of fiscal sanity. We cannot expect to grow out of our problems, as they will grow with us.

Re:Need more immigration. (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#42145387)

If you want less pollution you want fewer people. If you want a richer nation (with more pollution and more environmental degradation) then you want more educated immigrants. Either way we should look to Canada and have an immigration policy where we set standards for those who want to become citizens.

Any proposed solution will lead straight to Godwin's Law, sooner rather than later.

Re:Need more immigration. (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#42145639)

This is an issue that doesn't get enough attention. Let's face it, if we are to have any near future (20-50yrs) for entitlement programs, we need to be encouraging both immigration and reproduction.

There is a fixed amount of land and resources available to the US. If they would simply tax corporations that extract those resources appropriately there would be enough wealth to go around.

Adding more people is a band-aid solution to a failed system.

You heard em people... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145273)

Get fuckin.

PANIC! (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#42145291)

the average number of children a U.S. woman is predicted to have in her lifetime is 1.9, slightly less than the 2.1 children required to maintain current population levels

Oh my GOD! It's like we'll have to allow some people to migrate into our country just to sustain ourselves! QUICKLY, let's open the floodgates of and bring more people in before we all just wither and fade away!

Seriously? This is an issue?
That anyone feels this is newsworthy is why we have a distruct of sociologists. They have serious discussions over "well, duh" type findings.

All that said, I see what they're trying to say: "Social Security if fucked". And while that's an important thing to say, it ALSO falls into the category of "well, duh".

Re:PANIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145379)

Oh by all means, close the doors, then you along with the rest of the shrinking group of middle class Americans will be supporting the VAST numbers of ageing boomers.

Your taxes will go up and your infrastructure will go down and you'll wonder why it happened.

Oddly enough you can't run a society without people.

Re:PANIC! (5, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#42145807)

Seriously? This is an issue?

It's an economic bubble. Our country is based on debt, which is based on inflation, which is based on population expansion. More hands out means more hands to put money into which means more debt which means more money in the money system which means you can keep collecting interest. Issued debt grows and grows, but work gets done.

Now when people start working their way out of debt and paying on assets, stop taking loans, etc, that fails. Stop taking mortgages? Credit crunch, recession, depression. Stop taking student loans? Credit crunch. With a credit crunch, we don't have as much money in the system. That means less money flowing around to pay off loans, making it harder for people to get high-paying jobs to pay down their debt, meaning defaults on debt, meaning people are foreclosed on and banks are left with worthless assets and lose money. Loss of money means the federal government doesn't get paid back, and banks fold, and the taxes go up--or the banks raise interest rates and add fees to take more money away from people. Economic damage.

The whole system is based on population expansion. More population, more credit issue, more debt, more money flow. Stable population means suddenly a lot of things don't work. Thing is the population is basically an economic bubble--it grows, it shrinks. It can't grow and grow and grow any more than the spot price of AAPL.

The best argument for prosperity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145315)

The best argument for prosperity is that people stop breeding like rabbits. You look at wealthy nations (US, France, Germany, Canada, Japan) and universally you have at or below replacement population growth among the domestic population. The Japanese government is actually marketing parenthood because their kids have simply ceased to reproduce.

There are other ways to control population growth. You can rely on Malthus and starve/murder/plague people to a stable population. You can do as China has done and make >1 child a crime, with all the lovely consequences inherent to that. Only prosperity remains as the one certain method of stopping excessive growth without all of that heinous shit.

Re:The best argument for prosperity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145843)

If you are trying to decrease the size of a population, the best bet would probably be to stop giving tax breaks for having new kids and give tax breaks to people who get fixed before having X number of kids.

ahhhhh! now it make sense! (2)

fredan (54788) | about a year ago | (#42145323)

that's why the republicans does not want women to get subsides on their birth control pills!

Re:ahhhhh! now it make sense! (1)

gatesstillborg (2633899) | about a year ago | (#42145497)

Biden was the first public figure I heard to say this back in the early 90's, specifically why they opposed birth control, abortion, and were subsidizing single mothers with welfare.

Re:ahhhhh! now it make sense! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145809)

Thats right! Republicans are so evil for not wanting to pay for people's personal decisions. Why just the other day I was going through McDonald's and was totally surprised to find out that the government was not subsidizing my value meal. I mean, how dare they! I'm an American and deserves to have my value meal paid for by the government of the United States! I voted for Obama and the democrats so that I could get my stuff for free and they're just not putting out fast enough. It's those damned republicans standing in the way again. As soon as we get them out of the way we can tax everyone at 100%, and those rich bastards at 200%, and then make sure that everything is free to everyone who wants it. Thats the way its supposed to be.

Why I'm not having kids (5, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#42145331)

My husband and I agreed not to have kids. By all rights we're in the sweet spot for it - young professionals, good careers ahead, own our house, etc. But.... I just don't see the need for it. We have his nieces and nephew any time we get the urge to play with kids or hold a baby. We have tons of friends with kids who are super glad to have us watch their rugrats for a night.

And let's not get into how expensive children are, or how hostile work environments are to parents of either sex (but especially women.) I believe both parents deserve equal maternity/paternity leave and for a far longer period than most employers are willing to give them. We'd have to both be comfortably working from home to even consider it.

So, we're not quite the couple in the beginning of Idiocracy, but we're close enough.

Re:Why I'm not having kids (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145475)

Playing with nieces and nephews can be a lot of fun, but there is no feeling comparable to the joy of raising your own child.

Re:Why I'm not having kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145679)

I agree. I hate being away from either of my kids, one biologically mine, one fostered to hopefully adoption within the next year. She will be saved from a ghetto life on welfare like her mother has been on for years, and instead into a life where she will know the value of self sustaining wages and what it really means to earn a living. Thankfully I am paid for what I know more than what I do (like a construction worker or retail worker would be), but that took a long time to gain the knowledge and experience.

Re:Why I'm not having kids (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145503)

Thank you for not having children.

Re:Why I'm not having kids (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145593)

If only your parents had thought the same way. Oh well, at least your degenerate bloodline stops here. Better late then never!

Re:Why I'm not having kids (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145637)

Your language is interesting. You 'agreed' not to have kids and 'don't see the need.' You titled your post "Why I'm not having kids" and the only reason I can tell from your post is that you don't want them.

Kudos to you for watching your friend's kids (and staying friends with your friends that have kids.) But, you get a lot more out of having kids than playing with them or holding them. You see the world through their eyes. You hope for them. You toil for them. They are your future. Not in the 'YOU MUST WIN' way, but in the 'I WOULD SHARE ANYTHING HAVE WITH YOU' way.

As for expenses... There is never enough money and there is always enough money. You learn to live within your means. If you had two kids, you'd learn to live within your means, too.

Re:Why I'm not having kids (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#42145697)

This is not a critique of you, I don't know you or your situation personally so obviously I cannot and will not judge, but:

This is a kind of selfishness. You indicate that you think of having children entirely around how it would impact you, personally, and what you want. The problem with this is that having children is fundamentally not about you. It's about the potential children you could have, and about their well-being and prosperity, even if it is extremely costly and a tremendous sacrifice to you personally, and at a slightly higher level the economic and demographic well being of the country, which relies on a steady stream of young people to work and produce for society, and of course at the highest level it is simply about the continuation of the species and making sure humanity survives and prospers. That is why animals, all animals (humans included) have children. It isn't for your own pleasure or well-being, although I should point out that having kids actually does make you live longer, and happier, and in the long term more stably, since you have children to support and help you once you grow old.

The mindset you exhibit is extremely common. It's the whole reason the US isn't having enough kids to sustain itself, and the reason the Japanese are probably going to collapse in a few decades from a population implosion. That attitude will destroy the country in which it becomes widespread, almost inevitably (hell, it's part of what destroyed Rome all those years ago).

Re:Why I'm not having kids (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about a year ago | (#42145711)

There are countries, such as parts (maybe whole) of Scandinavia, which has quite more ma-/paternity leave - in Norway its approximately 1 yr, must be shared between the parents. This is mandated through regulation, and the parents recieve 100% of their normal salary from the social security system while on leave.

Re:Why I'm not having kids (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145799)

I'm on the other side of the coin. My wife and I both focused on our careers for too long before being "ready" for kids. $100,000 in fertility treatments later, we have one on the way. This may have been the stupidest mistake of my life; or it may have been the best move ever. It's yet to be determined.

Over-population red herring? (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about a year ago | (#42145333)

I do remember many times seeing the reports of how over-population was going to put such stresses on resources that it would be catastrophic to the globe. Well, looks like the problem has been solved. Yes it will be painful for a moment in time, but once population stabilizes, or even falls, there will be more for folks.

Frankly, the Govt can keep what I've paid into SS and the like. Just stop taking it out of my paychecks. I will take care of myself thank you very much.

Re:Over-population red herring? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145727)

I do remember many times seeing the reports of how over-population was going to put such stresses on resources that it would be catastrophic to the globe. Well, looks like the problem has been solved. Yes it will be painful for a moment in time, but once population stabilizes, or even falls, there will be more for folks.

So over-population and global warming aren't intertwined at all? Carbon emissions are only half the problem. The other half is ALL THE FREAKING PEOPLE using the technologies which emit carbon!

Re:Over-population red herring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145823)

I will take care of myself thank you very much.

You're missing the point. You're supposed to be taking care of all the other people who don't bother taking care of themselves.

If you are young(ish), save for yourself (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#42145335)

I think within 20-30 years, social security will be just about tapped out and unable to pay more than a small percentage of people that paid in.

What will end up happening is only the needy will be given social security money, anyone who has any amount of savings will not be allowed to draw out of it.

So for anyone working now - just treat social security as a black whole, money taken from you never to be seen again. Save enough for your own retirement to be comfortable. It's not hard to do, even just a few thousand a year now can make a huge difference later.

You might think that it would be better to save nothing so you would be one of the handful actually given social security money. But I wouldn't rely on that variable, save yourself and you know exactly what you have for retirement.

Re:If you are young(ish), save for yourself (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year ago | (#42145715)

I think within 20-30 years, social security will be just about tapped out and unable to pay more than a small percentage of people that paid in.

Note that according to the latest Trustee's report the trust fund will pay full retirement benefits until 2033 [ssa.gov] , and thereafter will still be paying 75% of scheduled benefits through 2086 -- not a "small percentage". It's been proposed that the deficit could be completely wiped-out by means-testing OASDI payouts...

Re:If you are young(ish), save for yourself (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | about a year ago | (#42145851)

The current projections are for the Social Security Trust Fund to be depleted around 2037, last I checked. At that point, assuming the government only pays out what it brings in, benefits will be reduced by about 25%. I would assume with current demographics, the payroll taxes will pay for an ever-shrinking percentage of the original benefits, until the baby boomers die off in significant numbers.

I don't know anybody under the age of 55 who is planning on receiving benefits from SS when they retire.

Kids cost money (1, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year ago | (#42145347)

Why would you want tonnes of kids when you can find a job and they want to cut your food stamps?

You can't even get a living wage at Walmart!

Re:Kids cost money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145645)

You can't even get a living wage at Walmart!

And there in lies your problem.

Re:Kids cost money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145773)

try the other side of life... as a foster parent I hear about people that have kids so they don't have to work.

As long as you have a kid under 3 you get WIC (Women, infants and children) and with 6 kids, it's cheaper to pay you than send them all to daycare and school so you can work, and no single uneducated parent will be making the 6k a month to pay for that much daycare...

the birth rate has smoothed out (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42145363)

if you read the article they have a nice chart going back to the 1800's. the last 50 some years the birth rate has been flat since peaking in 1960.

right about the same time as women going into the work force and becoming independent and having children later. instead of peaks and valleys like before we will probably have a nice smooth birth rate going forward as people have kids later in life

This isn't a bad thing. (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#42145365)

Seriously, the social security problem is easily solved by actually making the wealthy pay their proportionate share of the taxes. It isn't even a significant factor compared to the effects of uncontrolled population growth on the human race.

Our population is far too high as is and it going shrinking some isn't a bad thing. Just because we've been planning for overcrowding, increasing resource usage, etc doesn't mean should not demand that our population continue it's horrible growth increase to fulfill our fears.

People often like to claim that humans consume without bounds and replicate until all resources are used up and will eventually move on. A stop in population growth would indicate an equilibrium with our environment and disappoint them. Is that really so bad?

Re:This isn't a bad thing. (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42145433)

most wealthy people don't get their money from salary, but from investments.

fat chance on taxing everyone's investments that haven't been turned into cash

Basis of the US economy (4, Interesting)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year ago | (#42145381)

This is a problem with the US economy in general - it is based on growth. Those European/Asian countries that have been around for thousands of years are more stable, and have economies based more on sustainable goods and services. One of the main economic numbers that drives the US stock market is "new housing starts" - a number based solely on having the population continually increasing. Once that slows down - and can't even be propped up by the banks fudging mortgages - the entire country is headed for a depression.

Re:Basis of the US economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145565)

The US doesn't have much to offer that is unique to people and businesses. It's very hard to convince a business to settle here now. It's like saying go to france and set up shop that sells american novelty goods. The result is a far from fantastic.

Sandra Fluke (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145411)

The birthrate may be low but not for lack of fucking.

awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145447)

Years like this mean fewer competition which means my son will be supporting me in retirement!

A healthy middle class.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145459)

.... will allow people the luxury of having children. If a couple has a hard time feeding themselves, how the heck are they going to feed a family. Let's bring back the tax rates from Eisenhower and see what happens when the pie is more fairly distributed.

It's a fallacy that more people are needed (1)

echtertyp (1094605) | about a year ago | (#42145465)

The status quo assumption is that retirees can only be cared for if there are more people in every generation to tithe. A far better model is to equitably distribute "ownership" of civilization's resources and technology. Then instead of tithing the young and depending on unsustainable population growth, people would simply earn income from their share of ownership of human civilization. This should in fact be OK with conservatives, because the principle (passive income received from inheritance) is one of their bedrock principles. We just have to extend it (via redistribution of title to assets) to everyone. This also solves the problem of The Race Against the Machine.

Re:It's a fallacy that more people are needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145677)

This should in fact be OK with conservatives, because the principle (passive income received from inheritance) is one of their bedrock principles.

Right... because every conservative talk host dead or living won't be running to their microphones screaming "COMMUNIST!!!!" at the top of there dead black lungs when you try to implement that.

blame modern medicine (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42145523)

used to be you had 5 kids and 2 of them would die by 5 or 10. smallpox, typhoid, cholera, polio, death in child birth. add in your normal bacterial infections spreading and making your kids blind or some other disability because anti-biotics weren't available.

these days we have vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs to treat conditions that used to kill.

my older kid had pneumonia a few years back. a little zithromax and he was ready for day care in 2 days.
one of my school teachers once said that pneumonia put her in the hospital for a month
before that it wasn't that unusual to die from it

Dilemma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145525)

This just in: Fewer women less interested on having sex with their obese male counterparts.

So tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145537)

How is the whole SS system not a Ponzii scheme? If it relies entirely on a steadily increasing population to fund it, why is it even legal? It will eventually collapse in on itself, and here they are panicking because it may (or may not) collapse sooner than anticipated.

Re:So tell me again... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#42145751)

The problem is, the only viable alternative is the stock market. Now, to scare you even further:

How is the entire stock market not a Ponzii scheme? It relies entirely on steadily increasing numbers of consumers to buy the goods, driving the sales growth that sustains all of those high P/E ratios. The whole system will eventually collapse in on itself, so every time I hear about a downturn in stocks, I wonder why everyone is panicking merely because it may or may not collapse sooner than anticipated....

See how much scarier it is when you look at the big picture instead of just a narrow part of it?

Who's having those babies (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42145557)

I suspect that people with education and stable incomes continue to have children at the already low rate that they have historically.

That immigrants are also reducing the number of pregnancies hints that they understand the consequences and costs of raising children. Or maybe it hints that with access to free medical services (and yeah, lets not kid ourselves, for them it is free), they have managed to throw off the traditions of the third world of having many children even when living in squalor in the hopes that some of them will survive to take care of them in their old age.

(You would sort of expect this, since anyone willing to abandon their homeland and go on a long and dangerous journey risking arrest, and sometimes life, in the hopes of improving their conditions, would seem unlikely to fall back into the trap that they left).

Its been a long time since this country had a depression lasting 5 years, (with another 4 years on the horizon). Long enough for even the clueless to begin to understand the costs involved of feeding kids while out of work.

So who is still having those kids? I suspect the least able to support them. Unmarried teen age girls living in poverty [prb.org] . Despite nationally declining rates, teen birth rates in the United States remain persistently high, at 34.4 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19. And these rates are dramatically higher than in other developed countries. Twice as high as Canada.

Also those living on public assistance, of one form or another, where having another kid means another increase in their assistance check.
The birth rate for women 15 to 50 years old receiving public assistance income in the last 12 months was 155 births per 1,000 women, about three times the rate for women not receiving public assistance [census.gov] . See page 15.

With no skills, and no prospects, there seems to be an entire population of breeder-class individuals. And they are not necessarily the immigrants that we all thought they were.

WARNING (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42145623)

Avoiding fertility tests is a crime.

I can see it now .. Everyone, we need more fucking (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#42145671)

Isn't that the point of kids? So you have someone to look after you when you get old? ;-) I jest, I jest.

End the pyramid scheme (4, Informative)

jemenake (595948) | about a year ago | (#42145721)

Frankly, I'm repulsed by this notion that "Hey, we gotta keep pumping out more kids so that we have a big base paying into social security to offset all the geezers taking their benefits". In any other situation, the notion of needing lots of new contributions to help fund the payouts to the holders of mature shares would be called what it really is: a pyramid scheme. Every pyramid scheme, eventually, runs out of sources of new influx as the system grows exponentially. And, in the case of population, it brings with it all sorts of negative consequences, like soaring housing costs in places that don't suck.

Frankly, I view population growth as akin to deficit spending... you can only get away with it for so long. So, rather than wait until we've exceeded the earth's capacity to support us, let's bite the bullet now. Let's embrace policies which encourage either zero-growth or population reduction and just accept the fact that it means that we'll all have to work a longer % of our life-expectancy.
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