I recently read a very interesting article entitled “Can we feed the need to breed?” by Lianne George published in May’s edition of Maclean’s magazine. (And, by the way, had I known that I could read it online, I would have saved the money I paid to photocopy it from the college’s student health office while Brad and I were waiting the half hour after his final Twinrix vaccination).
Basically, the article discussed the deficit that currently exists in birth rate vs. death rate, why this is occurring, and what the future will look like if it stays the way it is right now. Below, I’ve outlined some of the key points of the article.
- Our current birth rate is 1.5 children per woman. We need one of 2.1 to replace ourselves.
- Birth rates across the developed nations are similar – Russia, Ireland, Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, etc.
- Women, on average, are having their first children at 31 (oh goodness, how I hope to be a mother long before that!)
- Analysists are estimating “a shortage of 1.2 million workers by 2020” – a prominent professor asserts that for every two people retiring in the next few decades, less than one person will exist to take their place
- Immigration, as the government touts as the solution, may work for now, but will not work for long, as all developed nations will be fighting for them – our current birth rate will require 500 to 750 000 immigrant per year – a substantial increase from the current 240 000
The article goes on to discuss some of the practices in place in other countries to encourage families to have children. In France, for example, large families are eligible for NO tax, subsidized rent and transportation, and parental leaves that can extend for years at a time – not to mention $325 per year for extracurricular activities.
I can’t do the whole article justice by a few paragraphs – you’ll have to read it and get the whole picture. I think for me the most interesting quote was the one I’ve copied below:
“In a hyper-indiviualistic, ultra-commodified culture like ours, motherhood, for better and worse, is less a fact of life than just another lifestyle choice,” (George, 2007, p.40).
Hmmm. What do you think? When did childbearing become a lifestyle choice as opposed to a fact of life? Is this a choice that should even be ours to make?