Archive for the ‘Birth Rate’ Category

Russia: Demographic Crisis

In Abortion, Birth Rate, Demographic Decline on August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

“Mother Russia” is experiencing an unprecedented decline in population.  In the last 20 years, it is estimated that an astounding 80 million unborn Russian children have been aborted.  On average, a Russian woman over the course of her reproductive life will have seven abortions.

Combing that high abortion rate with a fertility rate of 1.2 (a fertility rate of 2.1 is needed for replacement of population), Russia stands to lose over one-third of its population every generation.   “We’re losing almost three quarters of a million people every year,” said Alexey Komov, chairman of the Moscow Demographic Summit that was held this last June.

The video below, by Population Research Institute, gives an excellent overview of the demographic problem and some insight into Russian history and culture.  It notes the ways that Russia is attempting to reverse the decline – albeit not very successfully.

For example, in 2003 President Vladimir Putin put in place a $9,000 “baby bonus” to encourage couples to have children.  This video tells of a Russian bank that is currently offering a 0.5 discount in mortgage rates to families for each child born.  All valiant attempts, but history has shown that is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to reverse this type of demographic decline.

“Ultimately it’s a matter of faith and spirit that determines how many children people decide to have,” said Phillip Longman, lecturer and author of The Empty Cradle:  How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity.  “That’s not something the government can really do. That’s something society can do.”

We would add it is something that society must do.


UFI Reader Poll: Is it crucial that developing countries reduce their population?

In Birth Rate, Environmentalism, Family Planning, Polls, Population Control on April 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Here’s the question: 

Do you believe that it is crucial that developing countries reduce their population?

Here is the UFI reader response:

91 percent               No

6 percent               Yes

3 percent               Unsure

United Families International representatives are currently attending the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD).  The mantra of the UN is that “poverty reduction can best be accomplished by reducing population.”  Of course there’s the ever favorite:  “The world has a population explosion.”  Getting rid of the world’s population is always a priority – especially at CPD.

To see some statistics on fertility rates and population go here.

Also, just for fun, consider this:

The world population (6,793,593,686 as of the end of 2010) if miraculously moved to the state of Texas, would result in a population density of 25,292.5 souls per square mile, or somewhat greater than 1/3 as dense as the current situation in Manhattan, which amounts to 70,994.75 persons per square mile.

Myth Buster Monday: There’s a “population explosion!”

In Birth Rate, Demographic Decline, European Union, UN on April 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

The notion that the world is being overrun by people has been around for a long time.  “We can’t produce enough food to feed the masses.”  “The world will become so crowded it will become a living hell.”  Perhaps its most famous proponent is Reverend Thomas Malthus who stated:  “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.” The neo-Malthusians are alive and well today, but are they right?

“Never before in human history have global fertility levels dropped so much, so fast,” states a recent UN Secretary-General report.   World fertility has declined over 50 percent in 50 years.  Recently, the U.S. also dropped below the replacement fertility level – that rate being 2.1 children per couple.  Today, 30 developing countries, representing 40 percent of the population of the developing world, also have below-replacement fertility. (UN Secretary-General Report)

This has not stopped the population control folks from continuing their mantra of “too many people!”  They cite population momentum – population growth continues for a time after fertility drops – as a reason to continue “family planning” programs in the developing world.  The UN’s medium variant indicates that around 2045, world population will top out at 8.75 billion.  UN demographers acknowledge that the population will then stabilize for a time and then begin to decrease.

Here are some statistics on population and whether the world has too many people:

  • By about 2020, for the first time, the global fertility rate will dip below the global replacement rate of 2.1.
  • About 44% of the world population lives in nations with sub-replacement fertility.
  • At a fertility rate of 1.4, a country will lose one-third of its population in a generation (a generation = 26 years).
  • Approximately 17 European countries currently have fertility rates of 1.4 or below.
  • All European countries (except Turkey) have below replacement level fertility rates with an average European fertility rate of 1.5.
  • The number of people in the world is closing in on 7 billion.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimates the earth can easily support 8 to 12 billion using existing agricultural technology.  Joe Woodard, “Rome’s Other Ghosts:  Population Control at the Food Summit,”  PRI Review , (January/February 1997):  9.

“Rapid population growth originally commenced not because human beings suddenly started breeding like rabbits but rather because they finally stopped dying like flies.” – Nicholas Eberstadt


Statistics on Population and Prosperity:
Is There an Effect?

Country Population
per square km
Pop. per sq. km
arable land
Income per capita Life exp.
Bangladesh 1218 2,215 $1,700 70
China 140 931 $7,400 74
Denmark 128 247 $36,700 78
Germany 228 691 $35,900 80
India 362 754 $3,400 67
Israel 360 2,398 $29,500 81
Japan 335 2,789 $34,200 82
Mexico 58 445 $13,800 76
Switzerland 185 1,850 $42,900 81
Taiwan 641 2,672 $35,800 78
United Kingdom 257 1,120 $35,100 80
United States 32 178 $47,400 78

The CIA World Factbook (2010)   

Day Seven: Trees More Important than Babies

In Abortion, Birth Rate, Environmentalism, Feminism, Population Control, UN on March 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Another in our on-going series of UFI at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Attending and participating in this presentation required my finest acting skills.  “Ecology and Feminism:  Sacred Feminine, Circles and Valuing Girls and Trees” was the title of this “parallel event” and I just couldn’t resist!  The attendees were a fine group of aging hardcore feminists, primarily middle-aged and older women who appeared to be from either from North America or Europe.  My guess is that women from the developing world had more important things to go to and learn about; like legitimate ideas for economic development, clean water, meeting sanitation needs, quality health care, and getting their children educated.

“I saw the tree before I saw the house,” began the first presenter, “it spoke to me.”  She expounded upon her efforts – which ultimately failed – to save the tree in her front yard.  The tree fell under the control of the homeowner’s association and they wanted it removed.  She spoke of her intense “battle” to save the tree including the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars she spent in legal fees.  “How could a tree simply be voted out of existence!” she lamented.

She spoke with passion about the “sense of the sacred, the connectedness in our consciousness between trees and ourselves,” of the “goddess in every women,” of the “sacredness coming through Mother Earth and women; a sacred dimension that is matter (mater, mother, matter).”  Referring to trees she said, “we are all one; we are connected, what happens to one happens to all…”

Her time being up, she turned her comments to the critical nature of reproductive health rights and women’s rights and the need for true feminists to re-engage and make sure abortion remains legal, human population growth is slowed or better yet stopped completely, and that nature and trees takes their proper position in humanities’ priorities.  “Respect for Mother Earth and life must prevail over all else.”  My hand immediately went into the air.  But it wasn’t Q&A time yet; my question would have to wait.

So here was where my acting skills (which are basically non-existent) came into play.  We were divided into groups of five and tasked with responding to the question:  “Think back through your life, perhaps into your childhood, and tell the group about your relationship with trees.  How have trees impacted your life?   Did you sit in them?  Do they communicate with you?  Tell us about your connection to them.”  I survived this section of the presentation because I do enjoy trees; I have about 150 of them in my yard and I raised them all from seedlings.  So I played along just fine.

Next, we had to get up, stand in a big circle, hold hands and chant a simple verse while one woman rang this little chime thing.  BTW, the leader was called “the Circle Evangelist.”  We had to each then use five words (just five) to say how we felt connected to one another- the power of women – and to nature.  I REALLY struggled to not laugh at this point and then – you guessed it – we held hands, swaying back and forth as we sang some song about peace and love in the world through recognizing the “sacred feminine” in each one of us.  Everyone was hugging and basking in the glow.   All I could think was:  “When is it question time!”

But we’d taken too much time; we had to vacate the room for the next presentation.  So I never had the chance to ask them.  So here it goes:

“You say that nature, trees, and achieving peace are all important.  I agree; I love trees and nature.  But I would add that all life is sacred and important.  How can you advocate for the life and soul of a tree (which most would say is an inanimate object), and yet completely ignore the life of an unborn child and callously advocate for its brutal destruction?  That seems pretty inconsistent to me.”

I’ll never know their response to my question.  But I’ll bet “the circle evangelist” wouldn’t have invited me back.

–M. Barlow

Myth Buster Monday: The bulk of unwed births are to teens

In Birth Rate, Cohabitation, Marriage, Myth Buster, Schools on January 17, 2011 at 5:00 am

We regularly read of the need for more sex education in our schools in an effort to avoid teen pregnancy.  Shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant garner lots of attention and add to the perception that the biggest problem with out-wedlock-child bearing can be found at your local high school.  The reality is, however, that teens account for about 23 percent of all out-of-wedlock births with sixty percent of those unmarried teen births to women who are 18 or 19.  These are certainly not numbers we should be content with, but it is worth knowing that the unmarried teen birth rate has been falling slowly over the last two decades.

The majority of unwed births in this country are to unmarried mothers in their twenties, with the greatest increase in the number of unwed births (2008-2009) occurring to women between the ages of 30 and 34.

Maggie Gallagher, in her publication “The Age of Unwed mothers, argues:  “What has changed most in recent decades is not who gets pregnant, but who gets married.”  Gallagher has written extensively about the growing disconnect between marriage and childbearing, the cultural attitudes that foster it and the damage to society that ensues.

I was getting ready to regale you with all of the statistics of the consequences to children because of the epidemic of out-of-wedlock child bearing, when I ran across this short article that just does too good of job of making my point.  So I’m passing it on to you.   It’s an older article (2008) but it’s absolutely worth the read and comes from a publication that might surprise you:


New way to look at Population and Poverty

In Birth Rate, Demographic Decline, Environmentalism on December 14, 2010 at 5:45 am

“Poverty:  Where we all Started” is the title of a clever video produced by Population Research Institute (PRI).  It discusses some of the myths surrounding poverty reduction.

“Reducing the number of people in the world doesn’t make those who remain any wealthier,” says Joseph Powell, the creator and animator of the series. “That’s why, as we show in our video, population control isn’t the answer to poverty.”

You can also see some of their other videos on the myth of overpopulation here.

Too Few or Too Many?

In Abortion, Birth Rate, Canada, Demographic Decline, Environmentalism, Population Control on November 29, 2010 at 5:30 am

Two articles.  One telling me that there are too many people on the planet and one telling me that there aren’t enough.  That’s what appeared in my inbox this week.  I’m always a little taken back…and extremely skeptical… when I see a headline stating that the solution to a world problem is to get rid of people.  But that’s what the environmental group “Worldwatch Institute” implies.  Here’s the lead-in to their article:

“A new report from the Worldwatch Institute argues that assuring that all women have access to contraception and taking steps to improve women’s lives should be key strategies in the fight against global climate change.”

You will regularly hear the “get rid of people” argument applied to global warming, international development, and even to the use of contraception to lower maternal mortality rates.  Yet in the other article I was referring to, the flip side is presented:

  • 59 countries with 44 percent of the world’s population have below-replacement fertility.
  • Worldwide, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) fell from 5.0 in the mid-1960’s to 2.7 today.  That’s a drop of close to 50 percent.
  • Russia is losing 700,000 people a year and there are more abortions in that country than live births.
  • Any country with a Total Fertility Rate of 1.4 or below will lose a third of its population each generation (about every 25 years).  The majority of the developed world fits in this category.
  • Between 2015 and 2021, in Canada, the number of elderly will exceed the number of children under age 14 for the first time ever.  By 2050, Japan will have two senior citizens for every child.

“In discussions of the global economic crisis, almost everyone misses an underlying reality.  It’s not just bloated budgets, it’s empty nurseries.  Deficits and economic decline are driven by plummeting fertility,” states Don Feder, in a speech to the World Public Forum in October.  Mr. Feder effectively argues that the loss of people is a far more serious problem than the purported problems stemming from “global climate change.”

But I suspect that groups like Worldwatch Institute will never stop beating the “there are too many people” drum.  It’s religion for them.  Maybe we should start calling them “deniers…” population-decline deniers.

You can listen to an earlier version of  Mr. Feder’s speech here.

How Do You Help Countries Who are Struggling to Develop?

In Birth Rate, UN on August 13, 2010 at 6:13 am

That’s the question we asked our UFI readers last week.  As you can see from the percentages below, it is a question where few people agree on the answer—including those who control the purse strings of international funding institutions tasked with dispersing funds to the developing world.

Sadly, there is little documentation that all the millions of dollars poured into developing countries over the last few decades have had any positive effective.

What is the best way to truly help and give effective assistance to developing countries?

2%          Help them lower their population

12%        Subsidize business creation

34%        Improve medical and health care

36%        Improve education system

16%        Improve the country’s infrastructure

Russia’s Birthrate now Exceeding Abortion Rate

In Abortion, Birth Rate, Homosexuality, UN on July 30, 2010 at 8:33 am

The Russian Federation was pleased to report to the U.N.’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee that, for the first time in decades, the Russian birth rate now exceeds their abortion rate—a change that should be acknowledged and praised.  But instead the Russian delegation was dished a chastisement from the 23 “independent” U.N. experts who are charged with reviewing their country’s efforts toward achieving “women’s rights.”

According to our friends at Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), “the committee expressed concern that the government was promoting motherhood and women being able to stay at home with their newborn children, instead of facilitating their quick return to the workforce.  The Cuban expert warned of the negative sexual stereotypes that could result if women were only seen as ‘good mothers, good wives, and caretakers, while men were seen as the economic providers.’”

In another remarkable piece of news, the Russians also informed the CEDAW committee that the “declining number of abortions was also decreasing women’s mortality rates after birth or abortion.”    Once again the Committee was not impressed, even though 100s of millions of dollars are spent worldwide to lower maternal mortality rates.

*Here are a few other examples of “counsel” coming from the CEDAW Compliance Committee experts:

  • One expert lamented that access to “transgender medical services” were not available in many regions of Russia, and called on the nation to ensure that “women’s sexual and reproductive rights were based on scientific evidence and not on religion.”
  • Fiji was taken to task for not making marriage and reproductive technologies available to same-sex couples.  The Thailand expert inquired of Fiji if the decriminalization of prostitution for adult sex workers could be proposed.
  • Albania was asked, “What is the government doing to fight homophobia and violence against gays, lesbians, and transsexuals?”

The CEDAW Compliance Committee gets together to work their mischief a couple of times a year and each country that is a signator to the treaty is required to be reviewed every four years.

*A big “thank you” to C-Fam for reporting on these meetings.

The human race will be extinct in 100 years?

In Birth Rate, Population Control on June 30, 2010 at 6:13 am

If the man who was instrumental in helping to eradicate small pox knows what he’s talking about, humans will be extinct in 100 years.  The question is:  “Does he?”  Professor Frank Fenner (professor emeritus at the Australian National University) believes man will be gone and “a lot of other animals will, too.”  He adds” “It’s an irreversible situation, I think it’s too late.” Too late for what? Too late to stop man-made global warming and the over population of the earth.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide what to think on the global warming debate.  But on the “over population of the earth,” part, we have to respectfully say:  “Baloney.”  As prestigious as Professor Fenner may be, we suspect he has joined the ranks of other doomsdayers whose pronouncements of overpopulation and impending doom for mankind have failed to materialize.

Perhaps the most famous was Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) who predicted that population growth would outstrip food production and the inhabitants of the earth would starve by 1890.  There has been a string of Neo-Matlthusian experts who have sold their doomsday theories over the last 50 years.

  • Paul Ehrlich (The Population Boom, 1968) stated that unless governments take an active role in forcing population growth down “we will breed ourselves into oblivion.”  He insisted that in the 1970’s “hundreds of millions of people (including Americans) are going to starve to death.”  He said he “would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”  Paul’s still around today, but a little less strident in his opinions.
  • More recently we have Prince Charles who a few weeks ago warned of ‘monumental problems’ if the world’s population continues to grow at such a rapid pace.
  • Professor James Lovelock argues that, as a result of global warming, “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable” by the end of the 21st century.  Lovelock gives us a little better odds than Fenner; however, he claims that 20% of  humanity will be alive when the calendar turns over on 2100 AD.
  • Professor Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University claims that a ‘Doomsday’ moment will take place in 2014.

Fact:  Most developed countries of the world are well below replacement levels.  Close to 50 percent of the world’s population now has sub-replacement fertility rates with the trend in all but two countries continuing downward.

With all due respect Professor Fenner, we reject the Neo-Malthusian notion that “human numbers will invariably grow faster than food supplies, and that each new baby generates a demand on resources which exceed the benefits derived from the new source of labor.”  This ideology, first proposed two centuries ago, continues to be proven wrong.  Human ingenuity and innovation is, and has always been, the key to quality of life and sustainable development.  We have no reason to believe that won’t continue.


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