“The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the country into an economic recession and an unprecedented restructuring of our work and social lives. Early on, some likened the public health crisis to a blizzard, imagining that people would stay home, cozy up with their romantic partners and make babies.
These playful visions have given way to a more sobering reality: The pandemic’s serious disruption of people’s lives is likely to cause “missing births” — potentially a lot of them. Add these missing births to the country’s decade-long downward trend in annual births and we can expect consequential changes to our economy and society in the years to come. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes.
Research we did last year showed that the Covid pandemic would lead to a decline in U.S. births of about 8 percent, as compared with the number of expected births without a pandemic, resulting in 300,000 fewer births this year than would otherwise be expected. This prediction was based largely on the fact that economic factors affect people’s decisions about whether and when to have a baby.
There is a well-documented cycle to the nation’s birthrate: When the labor market is weak, aggregate birthrates decline; when the labor market improves, birthrates improve. At the individual level, there is also a well-documented link between changes in income and births: When income increases, people often expand their families; when people experience job or income loss, they have fewer children.” . . .
David Lindsay: This op-ed is so off base, it had me gasping for air, and giving it my middle finger, as I started shouting at the empty room. True, I can me very childish and silly.
I made a note to check and leave a thoughtful comment, but Holy Smokes, many articulate environmentalist beat me too it. The comments are terrific, and for they alone, I post the rubbish above.
Here are the three most recommended comments:
While this may have some negative economic impacts for humans, I would imagine there would be many gains for other species and the planet itself. We can adjust. Animals, on the other hand, are at our mercy in many ways, and will likely benefit greatly from a check in human population growth. I’ll call it a win.
This is wonderful news. We don’t need more human reproduction, we need less, much less. Climate change is causing massive human migration across the globe which will only accelerate. There are far, far too many humans on earth and a baby bust is good news.
Covid threw into even sharper relief the immense challenges of parenting in American society. This is not an easy place to have a baby, y’all! Let’s see – you can be fired or laid off while pregnant, which means goodbye health insurance and goodbye FMLA (which is trash anyway – 12 weeks of unpaid leave is obscene.) Your childcare is going to cost as much as your mortgage – literally! The full-time daycare we planned to use (before I was laid off at seven months pregnant) was $1400/month. Our mortgage is $1500. Oh, don’t forget healthcare – our baby’s insurance premium is $425/month. Are you doing the math? If I hadn’t been laid off, that’s around a $1900/month minimum expense on one new family member. If politicians want Americans to have more babies – a goal I don’t necessarily agree with – they should start by making America less openly hostile to parents. Raise the minimum wage, ensure better protections for pregnant workers, establish 12-18 months of family leave so moms AND dads can stay home with their babies in those first precious and precarious months as a new family, mandate reasonable leave policies, create a national system of affordable childcare… I could go on. We choose to make life immensely challenging for parents and then wonder why so few Americans opt in to having a baby. People WANT children, but they also want to be able to give their children (and themselves) a life worth living.
I’m not bothered. This planet cannot sustain our massive population. Why do humans still think they are the centre of the universe? Why can they not get past the fact that there are other species that depend on what this fragile earth can offer them for survival. It isn’t all about humans, you know. I’m not callous, but I am aware of the world around me and that biodiversity deserves a chance.