There have been a few good articles out recently (here and here, and one conference as well) discussing the distressing demographic situation we are in right now. Although some statistics show that European birth rates are rising slightly (see the chart), these gains are minimal and do not reach even the replacement level of 2.1 for the continuation of a stable population.
The current fertility rate statistics are here. If you’re looking for the United States, we’re number 125. And we are currently below the 2.1 replacement rate. And the same trends are present in other developed countries.
This trend, in the developed world, has a lot of possible explanations. An obvious explanation is abortion and the generation of children we’ve lost as a result of the killing of so many innocents. (And the generation we now need to replace.) A bit more philosophical explanation involves the rampant individualism in America and our desire for libertarian freedom. We are not raised anymore to value life, to honor sacrifice, or to keep extended families intact. These trends lead us away from the necessary responsibilities and sacrifices that come with raising children, and these general sentiments spread to the larger society.
Africa seems to be the only continent that is growing. And with “global warming” and other theories out there, some now advocate for abortion to stave off the population “growth” that will increase global warming.
As Mueller points out in his article linked above, the decline in population has far-reaching effects that include the downturn in our economy. And these economic effects have been discussed by many great thinkers throughout time. One simple conclusion we can make from Mueller’s extensive study is that nations thrive (in many ways, not just economic) when families thrive. And as Aristotle regarded the family as the foundation of society, so too should we advocate for policies and laws that both protect and incentivize the making of families.
The demographic decline in the world can end, but mere laws will not suffice. We need a cultural change in the way we think about life and family, and to value people instead of things.