The Decline of the Human Family

For decades, Americans have been warned of an impending population explosion that would perhaps threaten our very existence.  The Population Bomb, published in 1968, by Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, warned of approaching mass starvation due to overpopulation.

Our children have long been taught that a growing population is bad for the environment and society; that our planet cannot sustain future population growth. The media further propagates the teaching.

Ironically, experts today find that we are experiencing a worldwide population reduction.

According to the United Nations' own figures, the global population growth rate peaked around 1970 and has fallen steadily since.  In essence, falling birthrates across the globe point to a future with too few, not too many, human beings.

Forty-eight percent of the world’s population lives in cities, many of which are grossly overcrowded. People mistakenly assume that soaring birthrates are the primary cause for the growth and overcrowding.

Demographic analysis reveals, however, that birth rates have declined by as much as 50% over the last 50 years. In fact, most developed countries of the world are now showing below replacement fertility levels. (Replacement rate fertility in the absence of major wars, epidemics, or famine is 2.1 children per woman.)

Since the early 1970s, the world's fertility rate-the total number of children the average woman will bear in her lifetime-has gone from 6 to 2.9. The United Nations Population Development Division projects that world fertility rate will drop to 2.05 children per woman by 2050, less than the replacement rate.

The economic and social effects of the population decline are already apparent in much of Europe.  It is estimated that there are now 59 countries around the world that are experiencing below replacement fertility, including:

  • Russia's population is already decreasing by three-quarters of a million a year.  Russia‘s fertility rate is now less than 1.2 children per couple.
  • Japan's population is predicted to fall by as much one-third.
  • China's fertility rate indicates that its working population will begin to shrink by 2020, and a full 30 percent of its population could be senior citizens by mid-century.
  • The predominantly Catholic countries of Italy and Spain are also hard hit.
  • In Mexico, poor women with children are often denied medical care by government clinics unless they agree to be sterilized.
  • In Peru, the government has admitted that as many as 300,000 Indian women were forcibly sterilized through a population control campaign.

The United States may actually lead the way in declining birthrates.  Recent information shows the U.S. birthrate at 1.87 today, down from 3.7 children in 1957.

Legalized abortion, no doubt, has also had a profound effect on the number of children born worldwide.  Legalized abortion and declining birth rates have combined for what some have termed “catastrophic consequences”.  A documentary entitled The Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family details the combination as “one of the most ominous events of modern history”.

After the legalization of abortion in America in 1973, 6.5 million fewer school-aged children forced the closing of 9,000 elementary schools by 1980.  Children that would have grown up, worked, paid taxes and otherwise spent and invested were eradicated.

Today’s women having fewer children mean fewer parents tomorrow.  Fewer parents tomorrow mean still fewer children and on it goes.  The economic effects of abortion will be magnified more and more in the coming years.

By 2025, many predict that there will be twice as many grandparents as young children.  Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “My fear is that one day for every Baby Doe in America, there will be ten thousand Grandma Does.”

And what about when fewer and fewer children (secondary to legalized abortion and a declining birth rate) become the working adults who must carry the financial and tax burden needed to support a growing elderly population?

It appears that we are destined to find out.

We rarely hear about children having social and economic benefits; children that grow up to be consumers, workers, innovators and taxpayers.  On the other hand, we hear endlessly about the economic liability of raising a child. Often, there appears to be a prejudice against babies and children.

The money hungry abortion industry depends on the public blindly accepting the assumption that children are an economic drain.

Perhaps the prolife movement would get more attention by arguing the economic impact of abortion.  Perhaps then, children would be seen as the gifts that they are rather than an economic liability.

Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation reports that people of faith often have larger families.  "In the United States”, he says, “47 percent of people who attend church weekly say that the ideal family size is three or more children, as compared to only 27 percent of those who seldom attend church."

Indeed.  Those that see children as a gift from God would be more likely to have more children.  And aren’t we exceedingly glad?


Suzanne L. Ward
Education/Public Relations