I love the movie “Idiocracy.” It’s been called “the first movie that ever started out as a comedy, but ended up a documentary.” I laughed out loud the first time I heard that. There are a lot of movies depicting a dystopian future. But I can’t really picture a planet run by talking apes, or a government forcing children into mortal combat. THIS I can see. In fact, it’s already happening.
For those of you not familiar with the movie, it opens with the couple pictured above. They’re a nice, upper middle class couple with pretty high IQ’s. They don’t have children yet because they have jobs and a mortgage and they’re really just waiting for the “right time.” Which never arrives. In the meantime, all the stupid people are multiplying and hundreds of years in the future, humanity consists of people too stupid to figure out how to haul away the trash or water the crops.
No, I’m not writing this to denigrate Trump voters. The simple fact is that American birth rates have been declining for years. In 1957, 4.3 million babies were born in the United States. In 2017, that number was 3,853,472. That’s an 11 percent decline over a 60 year period. But a new study on declining fertility in America shows a new trend in these numbers: women WANT to have more children than they’re having. (http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Declining-Fertility-in-America.pdf) And the number one reason cited for that? STUDENT LOANS.
All of this makes sense if you think about it. This has been part of the trend. The more educated women are, the fewer children they have. What’s different now is that women aren’t choosing to have fewer children because they want fewer children (and new access to birth control allowed them to have fewer children.) They’re having fewer children because they can’t afford to have more. Add to that postponing motherhood because of all the years it takes to finish college, the higher cost of child care and the new societal pressures that add an emotional burden to raising kids, and the only surprising thing is that ANYBODY gave birth last year.
The Wall Street Journal has a story out today showing that although rates are declining across America, the decline is lower in the Midwest and Southeast and highest in DC. Which jives with the other study even though it doesn’t specifically state it. States that are more rural have more births. South Dakota has the highest birth rate. DC the lowest. People in rural areas tend to have less college education (and closer family ties to offset some of those other factors.) White women have the lowest birth rate, Hispanic women the highest.
So, what happens to a society where the most educated and highest income people have the fewest people? We’re already at a the point where we’re not having enough babies to replace our aging population. Immigration has declined.
And IQ scores have been declining along with the birth rate. Many scientist attribute that to “environmental causes,” but could there be a genetic factor as well? Are we actually seeing the ludicrous future portrayed in “Idiocracy” beginning for real?
All humor aside, we need women in this country to have more babies. We need to reverse the trend of educated women unable to have as many children as they would like. Liberals of course will have a solution to this problem: More government! Just make college “free” and force employers to provide more family leave time.
Conservatives know that’s the last thing we need. We don’t want more government. But we also don’t want mass immigration from 3rd world countries because we see how well that’s worked out for Europe. So, do we just sit by and watch our demographic wiped out? Or do we start working on some non-goverment solutions to our declining fertility rates?