The Corner

Birth-Rate Blues

The drop in birth rates reported yesterday would appear to be moving us farther in the direction of Europe — ever-more government and ever-fewer babies. But as the Pew report suggests, “the recent fertility decline is closely linked to economic distress,” and economic improvement will likely cause birthrates to bounce back somewhat. In other words, the problem is not that women are choosing to have fewer babies, it’s that when young people face lousy economic prospects, they can’t afford to have the number of children they’d like to have.

Addressing that, therefore, would involve things like entitlement reform, tax simplification, etc., to foster economic growth. But not everyone agrees. Linda Chavez, for instance, has a new column on the subject with this hilarious recommendation:

The solution to the problem of declining birthrates is not to encourage the women already living here to have more babies, but to boost our population size by admitting more working-age, productive immigrants.

Dissolve the people and elect a new one, indeed.

I have an idea — how about we just not engage in social engineering at all, whether through immigration or through pro-natalist or anti-natalist policies. The government’s job is not to second-guess the childbearing decisions of the people; rather, its role is to help create the conditions wherein American couples will be able to have however many children they want. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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