An article appearing in today’s New York Time entitled “End of Babies” describes the world wide drop in birth rates.
With simply a rudimentary understanding of the “demographic gap”, which is what the authors are describing , they would know that children in an agrarian society were profitable as workers and essential for securing support in old age Demographic gap is what happens when improved health care allows children to live into adulthood and this occurs before a population reacts through a drop in births.
In other words, people didn’t so much want children as they needed them! And even with modern birth control methods but without improvements in public health care but given the same economic circumstances, they may still have chosen to have large families.
So the real question today is “Why do we need children?”
When I did the most rudimentary research for Professor Carlos Cipolla at Cal Berkley some 61 years ago and before others were aware of the demographic changes that were coming down the road due to the drop of the death rate, he and later I sensed that within decades there would be a precipitous drop in birth rates.
A hot topic among students at the time was that young people should not have children! My liberal friends looked at me askance when I pointed out that there was no need to restrict ourselves.
The writer should have reported more on the size of families rather than about whether women were having children. It may be much of the drop is because there are less children per family rather than lack of parents.