What is the Cause of Low Birth Rates?

What is the Cause of Low Birth Rates?

by Baron Bodissey

The Fjordman Report
The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.


What causes low birth rates? I have debated this issue at some length with blogger Conservative Swede. Among the reasons frequently cited are the welfare state, feminism and secularism. However, if you look closely at the statistics from various countries, the picture gets quite complex, and there doesn’t appear to be an automatic correlation between low birth rates and any one of these factors.

The United States has the highest birth rates in the West, but this is largely due to ethnic minorities. If you compare white Americans to white Europeans, the American birth rate is somewhat higher than those of the Scandinavian nanny states, but still lower than replacement level. Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden do have elaborate welfare states, high degrees of feminism and are not very religious, yet have some of the highest birth rates in the Western world (though still below replacement level.) They are certainly much higher than those in Catholic Poland, perhaps the most conservative religious country in Europe. And they are much higher than those of South Korea, which has more traditional sex roles and where Christianity is booming these days.

The gap between the Western world and the Islamic world in birth rates is clearly caused by religious factors, but the differences between industrialized nations are far more difficult to explain. If the cause is not welfarism, feminism or secularism, then what is it?

Making moms: Can we feed the need to breed? Canada has a baby deficit. Will paying women to have more kids help?

How strange, then, that just as the mommy industry is booming, we’re in the grips of a baby bust. Canada’s fertility rate has been in a free fall for decades. In recent years, though, it has hovered at an all-time low of roughly 1.5 children per woman (we need 2.1 if we’re going to replace ourselves). Social analysts pin it on some jumble of female education and fiscal autonomy, secularization, birth control, Sex and the City, a heightened desire for personal freedom, and increasing uncertainty about bringing a child into a world plagued by terrorism, global warming and Lindsay Lohan. In a hyper-individualistic, ultra-commodified culture like ours, motherhood, for better and worse, is less a fact of life than just another lifestyle choice.

All over the developed world, the same pattern is apparent. Russia, Britain, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Italy and dozens of other countries are contending with fertility rates well below replacement levels. Forty per cent of female university graduates in Germany are childless. In Japan, where the birth rate has sunk to a record low of 1.26, family planning groups are blaming the Internet, charging that fertile men and women are spending too much time online, and not enough having sex.

Making Kids Worthless: Social Security’s Contribution to the Fertility Crisis

Many people nowadays find it hard to see why anyone would have children for the sake of old-age security. Surely, they think, people have children just because they like it. Still, they often hear people say they would like to have more children, but they cannot afford it. Moreover, people in less developed countries seem to afford large families, even though their real incomes barely reach subsistence levels.

What can account for these seemingly conflicting observations? The fact that in the absence of social security, the extended family is an informal social insurance mechanism that renders childbearing economically beneficial. But in countries with large social security systems, people no longer have an old-age security motive for fertility, precisely because social security has made fertility economically unwise.

Of course, social security is not the only reason for declining fertility rates. For one thing, the welfare state undermines the family in many other ways too, such as compulsory public education that seeks to replace family loyalty with allegiance to the state. Moreover, the old-age security motive for fertility should become weaker when other ways of providing for old age become available…

One can also look at differences among the developed Western countries. Among these countries, there are practically no differences in infant mortality rates, female labor force participation rates, and other standard explanations of the fertility decline. Yet total fertility rates differ widely — and exactly in the way predicted by the size of social security systems. The United States has a fertility rate of 2.09, whereas the European Union has an average of 1.47.

Also within Europe, where social security benefits are dangerously generous, there are differences among countries. Some of the most generous schemes are found in Germany, France, and the Mediterranean countries — as are the lowest fertility rates in the region. On the surface, it is surprising to find this in countries that used to be family-oriented and fervently Catholic. However, economic incentives shape behavior, and behavior shapes culture…

The best solution is also the simplest: get the state out of the way.

Death by secularism: Some statistical evidence

Infertility is killing off the secular world, a number of writers have observed, including Phillip Longman, whose 1994 book The Empty Cradle I reviewed last year. In the former Soviet empire, where atheism reigned as state policy for generations, the United Nations forecasts extreme declines in population by 2050, ranging from 22% for the Russian Federation to nearly 50% for the Ukraine. Secular western Europe will lose 4% to 12% of its population, while the population of the churchgoing United States continues to grow. Is secularism at fault? The numbers do not suggest otherwise.

Humankind cannot abide the terror of mortality without the promise of immortality, I have argue in the past. In the absence of religion human society sinks into depressive torpor. Secular society therefore is an oxymoron, for the death of religion leads quickly enough to the death of society itself.

Why Europe chooses extinction
- – - – - – - – - -

Demographics is destiny. Never in recorded history have prosperous and peaceful nations chosen to disappear from the face of the earth. Yet that is what the Europeans have chosen to do. Back in 1348 Europe suffered the Black Death, a combination of bubonic plague and likely a form of mad cow disease, observes American Enterprise Institute scholar Ben Wattenberg. “The plague reduced the estimated European population by about a third. In the next 50 years, Europe’s population will relive — in slow motion — that plague demography, losing about a fifth of its population by 2050 and more as the decades roll on.”

Bring back that Old Time Religion

[S]ecularism promotes a more short term and hedonistic attitude towards life. Since secular people have little faith in God or an after life, the tendency is for them to adopt the attitude of “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”. Of course, not all secular people are like that. But in general, secularism promotes such attitudes.

Their time horizon is therefore their own lifetime. Religious people on the other hand are more long term. Their eyes are on eternity. If you go to Europe, you will come across many Cathedrals that took centuries to build. For example, Cologne Cathedral took more than 300 years to complete.

Why did the Medieval Christians start a project that none of them would live to see its completion? The answer is that they look to the hereafter. Their desire was to please God and go to heaven. They say that faith can move mountains. Here a mountain of stone was literally moved to build the great Cathedrals of Europe.

But what of the secular people in now post-Christian Europe? What are the economic consequences of people whose time frame is simply the rest of their lives?

For a start, they (in general) want to enjoy their lives to the hilt. For some, this could mean early retirement with loss of still productive workers to the economy. For others, it could mean fewer or no children for children means responsibility and a tax on their resources which could be used to indulge themselves. Statistics from America have shown that regular church goers tend to have more children than those that seldom attend church.

29 thoughts on “What is the Cause of Low Birth Rates?

  1. Absolutely great statistical logic. The longevity of the cathedral project of medieval Europe is astounding. Indeed, without an eye toward eternity man is a befuddled animal.

  2. it is good finding realy i like to appriciate your/s effert but it have some limitation like time for sex and raring children limmit birth rate but you did,t include it.

  3. If you’re suggesting that lower population is caused by NO RELIGION, then I’m all for it. It’s about time that nations stopped having so many babies and start thinking about the fact that all these children make more and more trash in this world and if it continues, there won’t be a world to talk about anyway. So, I herald places like Italy and Japan. But, even though they have very low population gains, don’t worry, the other countries will more than make up the difference in the growth of population in the world.

    • wow you are dense. What about the fact that western nations are also disappearing?
      Western Nations becoming Islamic, and in the case of the US, part of latin America? What will be left when the people who created the west disappear and or are displaced by a hostile culture? What are you thinking? If you want to die, and lower the world population, do it now, don’t drag the rest of us with you!

    • Terry, There really is no such thing as “no religion.” One either has faith that there is an eternal state after this life, OR one has faith that there is nothing after this life. People have developed verious system to explain and govern their lives: Atheism- faith there is not a God, Agnostism- faith there is God but He cares less about what’s happening, Judeo-Christian- God got it started, cares and is working out His plan, Islam- Allah exists, and the current thinking everyone who doesn’t agree with us is an infidel, Secularism- who cares if there’s a God focus on the material now.
      And I have to say, if you are really concerned about the “trash” children generate, be it known that adults generate more. So you can strive to minimize your own trash and go into the recycling business.

    • Terry, atheism/humanism/communism/socialism has contributed during the 20th century to lower&lower birth-rates in the west. Secular people have small numbers or no children at all. Femenist in which many are secular dont have many or no children. The only white people that are having large numbers of children are Christian religious like the Quiverful-movement, but they are a small number, and their numbers at least for now are not off-setting the drastic drop of white population throughout the world. Hedonism is another factor, I myself heard white people say that kids interfere with our freedom. Most of the ones I knew were non-religious, secular left leaning, and this goes back 40 years ago.

  4. Unfortunately we live in the ME generation and having kids in the western world is considered a burden. Feminism has won the battle, women actually believe they can be men.

    I am surprised by Scandinavian countries and Europe having a low birth rate. Maybe life there is not so great after all.

    • You are right some women dont want kids I did want and I was fertile I met my first husband who was infertile(low sperm mobility) and he didnt want to adopt and I also met other men who didnt want kids how unfair life is. I love kids. I met my husband at 41 and I had a stillborn baby and after that I couldnt have another. I wanted babies at 23 or 25 but the men I met didnt want marriage Nobody says that they have been unlucky in love so no children are produced. they prefer to say other things or they never mention male infertility or male non commitment.
      Maria

  5. The way I see it as the white European population decreases&decreases in the west , so goes the west-(down the drain). These muslim&blacks,asians,ect will not keep up what has been the first world or west. Just looking at the islamic muslim situation alone, they will bring the whole west back down to a seventh century way of living. The black situation will eventually bring the powerty, violence, crime&corruption of sub-saharian Africa mainstream in the west when their numbers get to be a large minority let alone bigger. I see a decrease in science, medicine&invention in the west as the white population dwindles. Sorry the non-white population will not bring forth the same advances of the white west. Modernization will eventually slow down, stop, and then goe backwards.Eventually these muslims, blacks, asians,humanist/atheist/communist/socialist, non-white latins, mixed-race people will “Balkanize”, fighting each other bringing society down more&more probably totally destroying each other like 94 Rwanda. The west without white people will decend into the third, then to the forth world.

    • Im one of those you think “will not bring forth the same advances of the white west”, well I can tell you that the Romans think about your barbarians ancestors the same way you think about us …

  6. I don’t care how religious the society is. As long as there is social security, there will be no kids as some people decide to not have kids.
    I don’t care how secular the society is. If there is no social security, they will be forced to have kids. Or else they can look forward to a nasty life as elderly people. Since kids are their social security and medicare, they will take utmost care in instilling in their kids the same values that are so imprtant for civilization to endure. After all, it is kids with such values that will take care of their parents would they not? also you need to take care of your own parents as an example to your own kids. Thus civilization endures, secularism or religion to the contrary.

    People have kids for survival, period! stop trying to bring in religious arguments.

    • DoesNotMatter I guess that you are a skeptic of some type, agnostic/atheist/humanist. If Judeo-Christianity were stronger in the west as it once was, the birth-rates would be higher, and be replacing the whites that were dying out. A Christian revival in the white population in the west will be the only thing to save the white man from extinction.Of coarse you will most probably not accept this statement.BTW before social security, it was the sibblings who took care of their parents.

      • no Christianity is the problem, the foundation of the egalitarian system which now floods our collective nations was born from this accursed religion. no we need a new civilization which will protect its people and acknowledge the natural differences of the various human tribes which inhabit this planet. We must support a separation of tribes, linguistic, population, economic, militarily, scientifically, total separation. by this we will promote true diversity, and allow each tribe to develop on its own, to its full potential.

    • I agree. Your point also dovetails into homosexuality. I’ll never know for sure, but when people say they “just know” that they are attracted to the same sex, I belive they are being honest, because I “just know” I’m attracted to the opposite sex and I also “just know” that I’m not attracted to the same sex. If I “just know,” I must therefore conclude that gay people also “just know.” Having said that, being gay means no children. I’ve heard gay people wonder “who will take care of me when I am old?” Therefore gay people have a strong incentive to advocate a socialized welfare state to take care of them. In practice, this means you and I pay for their retirement in lieu of the children they didn’t have. Hence the religious discouragement of homosexuality and advocacy of marriage and children. I’m not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but religion is dead-on-balls right when it comes to elevating parenthood to a moral obligation. It’s nobody else’s obligation but your own to bring into this world the means by which you will be cared for when you are too old and weak to care for yourself. I have no obligation to care for anybody other than my forebearers.

  7. Whitelocust there is another aspect of religion in the Bible, that is older than either Judaism or Christianity. It is referred to as General Revelation or a folk religion of General Revelation. This religion excisted in various cultures into the 19th even 20th century. First in the Bible, this was the religion before Abraham, going back to Adam. Job in the book of Job was neither a Jew or Christian but had this aspect. In the book of Acts, there is mentioned the devout men in which Corneilius was one&God anwsered his prayer. In Burma-(Myammar) there are a people, the Karen who had this religion until a little less than 200 years ago, today many are protestant christians.In Ethiopia, there are a people, the Geddeo who had this religion until 1948. It was like a watered down version of Judaism being monothestic, having no images or idols,beleiving in the shedding of blood for the remission of sins&their leasders acting like the high priest in Judaism, offering an animal sacrifice for the remission of sins.The Karen in Burma had one of the most pure aspects of this religion. Whitelocust this was in all cultures at one-time and all other religions are a falling away from this General Revelation The more origional pure General Revelation in a culture, a more positive responce to the Gospel by missionaries. The lesser, a rejecting to the Gospel of Christ. These Karen in Burma were literally looking for the Bible&when they first saw the Bible, they very positively accepted the Gospel. While the Burmese were mostly Bhuddist, they were not that acceptive to the Christianity being presented to them back in that time. From my study cultures that have had a lot of religion changes over the centuries, this has resulted in a lesser conversion rate to Christianity..

  8. A site I ran in to makes more sense, then any christian book I have ever read, the church of the eternal creator, whose main focus is on race, protecting the white race, the creators of white civilization from non white culture. Where Race becomes the new religion, and the focus of balancing and controlling the non white cultures.

  9. all of this makes me sad. I’m actually of mixed race, though I look white. However, I like diversity in the world, and if it were the other way around, and white people were out breeding the other races while also moving into their countries and out breeding them there, then I would still feel sad, just that the tables would be turned. I hope that there will always be large amounts of each race in this world, because the races are beautiful,,,, it is just troubling to think of a world where the white population in a few generations will be almost nothing compared to the other populations,,,, that is, if these trends continue. Oh well

    • These trends cannot continue, because its the white populations that maintain civilization, every where we are moved our or exterminated, those places slowly return to what they once were. Non whites (except Asians) cannot maintain advanced civilization for very long, they do not have the “knowledge base,” as someone once said.

  10. White people are such ARROGANT f-cks. Like we need them to survive. Advanced civilizations my azz. If white people are so “advanced” then why can’t they get their low birth rates up. Whites have been talking about creating a “master race” for the past 80 years and where is that master race.

    Whites are simply arrogant, delusional creatures on a major ego trip. The only thing they are superior at is destruction of the planet and they do a d-mn good job at that!

  11. To be honest, I don’t know why white folks sell themselves out(stupidity).
    First to the native indians(white folks are slave to them so to live on the “their land”), then open border to the immigrants while providing tax funded abortions. I don’t know how it was back then, but I know white folk are disloyal to their race, and they will deny it to kingdom come. As far as I know I don’t think other races to that to themselves. I’m white, I just don’t understand how this came about, but I feel like I’ve been betrayed.

  12. I guess the solution is for white smart men mate with white smart women, and the stupid white male will eventually become extinct you know the ones that support tax funded abortions.

  13. A simple question: what do you plan on doing about it?

    Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik actually proposed a solution. To boost Norwegian fertility rates, true Norwegians should be rounded up and put in “breeding reservations”. I’d just call it a government run rape camp, but that’s just me.

    I’m a 25-year-old male, and I’m childfree. I had my vasectomy last year. Short of Breivik’s solution, what do you propose to convince me to have kids. I’ll save you some breath. You can’t.

  14. hello, i would love to tell you about how i got pregnant and gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, it all happened through a tradomedicaldoctor from malaysia.. he made some portions for me, said some incantations and spell , then told me to make passionate love to my spouse on a particular date, i did and weeks later, i was doing pregnancy tests.. POSITIVE… Thanks to him. check malaysiafertilitydoctor.webs.com or mail him on doctorfertilitymalaysia yahoo.com… GodBless

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