With current, pressing issues like gun control and bipartisan taxes, it can be easy to skim over issues with subtler and more long-term effects.
There is one issue in particular that hardly anyone seems to be talking about: birthrates.
Many of the solutions being proposed to fix the economy may help in the short-term, but America may need to look at solutions that have longer-lasting effects.
Birthrates in the United States are around 1.9 births per woman over her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts estimate that it will continue to drop, according to a 2012 article from The Huffington Post.
According to an article by Jonathan Last in The Wall Street Journal, the replacement rate for births is 2.1 – a rate that the United States hasn’t seen since the early ‘70s. Last recently wrote a book called “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting,” which discusses the issue of the birthrate demographic.
While our country shows a trend of not being able to even replenish its numbers, how can we expect to sustain the economy as it is?
With the severity of our current recession, the motivation to have children has declined. Now when couples consider preparing for a new little bundle, all they see is a pile of cash at stake.
In fact, according to a USDA report, today it costs almost $300,000 to raise a child from the time they are born to when they are 17 years old. That number only includes the bare minimum, not extra costs like gifts or college.
The delivery cost alone is around $3,500 for one baby. When you add in prenatal exams, delivery-related healthcare and post-partum healthcare, the cost is around $8,800, according to www.parents.com.
Since America’s beginning, its jobs and economy have generally improved with the passing of each generation.
For the first time, the country as a whole may experience a lower standard of living because of its inability to renew itself.
With the current issues in today’s society, including the threat of a lower standard of living and dropping unemployment rates, it is no wonder Americans hesitate to bring children into the world.
But that may be exactly what this country needs. Though an increase in birthrates isn’t an answer for all the economic problems we face, it is a long-term solution that will give the country a boost.
Without the addition of more people to work, invent, create and innovate, the country may never get out of its current economic rut. A high standard of living requires many hands to contribute to society.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are at a current 7.9 percent.
That means that even if the unemployment rate stays at its current poor condition in about 20 years, 92 out of every 100 babies born now will grow up to find work and contribute to society.
It is estimated that during the “baby boom” of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s some 78.3 million Americans were born. That made up almost 40 percent of the population during that time, according to www.history.com.
When they grew older, the economy began to thrive. In turn, the thriving economy fed the mouths of the children of the baby boomers.
“Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands,” said economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University in a U.S. News article. “It’s generally true that most people produce more than they consume.”
While it is true that families are fundamental to society, raising children has benefits that go beyond the personal desire to have children.
Let’s not see it as more mouths to feed, but as more hands to uphold the greatness and ingenuity of America.
Dissenting Opinion: Having more children won’t fix the economy
There is no doubt that the economy Americans have been faced with is problematic, and new solutions to solve this problem are proposed every day. However, to propose that young Americans increase the amount of children they have in order to increase our economy is flawed.
While the economy may have boomed as the babies born in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s grew older, the current state we are in with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid prove that the people who once supported the economy are too vast of a number for us to now support them.
It’s certainly true that young couples should not shy away from welcoming the blessings of children into their life just because the economy has been less than ideal. It is also true that a child should not automatically be seen as dollar signs, but there is no doubt that couples should seriously consider whether they can support the cost of a child before they have one in order to be responsible.
From an economic standpoint, although having more children may help our economy in the future, the distant future looks far less promising for those children born in the proposed second baby boom.
The current state of our economy, and the way that our senior citizens are suffering along with everyone else is proof of this inevitable fate.