Sadly, in the United States it’s the poor and middle class that have been the hardest hit by declines in fertility. Those with only a high school diploma or some college education have seen the sharpest drops in childbearing rates since the 1970s.
For the first time ever, the global population will enter a period of sustained decline according to the New York Times. Brad Wilcox, professor at the University of Virginia and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, recently went on the Faith and Law podcast to discuss the issue of falling birth rates in America and his assessment that Congressional Democrats’ proposed American Families Plan will not help to alleviate the problem. Some Christians have advocated for subsidized family policy to take a more central role in potential bipartisan legislation.
Wilcox began by discussing the structural changes which are bound to occur in an aging society. Surprisingly, American fertility rates (1.68 births/woman) are at the same level as Japan in 1988. They have continued to fall in Japan since then, and as a result Japanese society has experienced a terrible rise in social isolation and corresponding despair.
China has also seen a recent reduction in births, leading to a scrapping of the former One Child Policy. Wilcox added that he suspected all efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to depress birth rates will soon be reversed to instead increase them. The Chinese are also implementing a “masculinity curriculum” in their schools as well to strengthen their culture around masculinity. Wilcox observed that in South Korea men tend to be more feminine and that the Chinese government likely doesn’t want their own citizens going down the same path.
Sadly, in the United States it’s the poor and middle class that have been the hardest hit by declines in fertility. Those with only a high school diploma or some college education have seen the sharpest drops in childbearing rates since the 1970s. Wilcox criticized Republicans for “talking a big game” about the importance of the family in American life but failing to prioritize families in the policy realm.
“Too many Republicans are stuck in a Reagan style approach to public policy where you want to talk a good game but not advance the ball when it comes to working and middle class families,” Wilcox charged.