lifestyle

Fear of economic blow as births drop around world

29 Comments
By BERNARD CONDON

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29 Comments
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We need more kids, but we dont need 40+ year olds having them. High rates of abnormalities and conditions like adhd.

We need to be giving women in their twenties career breaks, while they are young and energetic, so they can raise kids and work, if they need to.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Lei Qiang, a logistics manager in Shanghai with a 2-year-old daughter, has ruled out another child. "I just couldn't think how expensive it is to have two," says Lei, 39.

To be honest, I think her government ruled out that 'second child', I don't think she had any say in the matter if she wants to stay in China.

2 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm surprised the article didn't mention education levels in women. The better educated, the less children they have.

Kimuzukashiii that's a pretty horrible thing to say. "High rates"? Have you read recent research on this area? The stats of those over 40 having special needs is far, far lower than has been suggested in the media and has been well out blown up in terms of risks Worth the read for stats alone - http://www.amazon.com/Expecting-Better-Conventional-Pregnancy-Wisdom/dp/1594204756. Nothing like fear mongering women into having kids earlier than they'd like to or are able to in terms on financial responsibilty. Many Japanese women over 35 are not having kids because of the media suggesting they'll have a child with serious disabilities.

Most 20 somethings are just beginning their careers so taking a break would hurt them in the long run - plenty of research on that as well. "If they need to"? Of course they need to. Most 20 somethings aren't married to well off men who can afford to have their wives stay at home and not work. I suggest "Lean In" for even more stats on the topic of how taking a few years off early in your career affects salary and the like in the long run.

I have never seen a link to ADHD and material age. Link please.

I don't think the world needs more kids. What is needed is a better sense of responsibilty in terms of dealing with aging populations and more equality between the haves and have nots. Japan is a mess due to the population decline but there are many other countries out there with far too many kids who are not being given a far chance in life to become the adults they could be if they had proper nutrition and education.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

"High rates"? Have you read recent research on this area? The stats of those over 40 having special needs is far, far lower than has been suggested in the media and has been well out blown up in terms of risks

'Lower than suggested in the media' isn't the same as lower than for younger women.

The study found that the incremental risk of having a child with autism increased by 18 percent -- nearly one fifth -- for every five-year increase in the mother's age. A 40-year-old woman's risk of having a child later diagnosed with autism was 50 percent greater than that of a woman between 25 and 29 years old.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208102411.htm

But even assuming that 40-year-olds are going to have normal, healthy kids, a normal, healthy 45-year-old isn't going to find it as easy to run around after a normal, healthy 5-year-old as her 30-year-old sister is.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is a big myth. In reality, life is better in small population countries. The highest levels of social development are in countries with small populations: Singapore, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland etc., a number of surveys show.

In addition, Japan's GDP per capital from 2009 to 2013 outpaced all the mass-immigration societies, like the US and UK. So Japan's economy isn't actually a basket case, because being bigger isn't the same as being better.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It's a good trend to decrease the world's population, especially in high consumer societies and aspiring others, when we consider the natural limitations of the planet, most evident with human induced climate change and resource depletion. The problem is population decrease does not match with growth-based capitalism, which relies on ever greater numbers of people using ever greater amounts of energy to transform nature ultimately into garbage and waste. Keynes theorized that once people satisfied their basic needs, because of more advanced technology, we would work less and turn more to cultural activities and hobbies. He just didn't imagine the power of marketers, playing on our psychological and social fragility, to provoke constant material wants beyond our real needs, and the unlimited greed of companies that manufacture planned obsolescence into their products. Less people needing a new phone every year--is this a bad thing?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't kneel down and worship at the alter of capitalism and "economic growth" so have no worries about a falling population. In most species once the food supply runs low the population decreases. As our food supply is dominated by finance as the supply drops so will the population. And this is a good thing. More food for all. More space. Less pollution. Less strain on health services. Less roads, less crime, less overfishing, less stress, better wages, less super rich individuals (1%), and, at a stretch, less wars.

Through the early years of my life the common fear was of the population explosion and would the planet survive. Well, we did, and now as the food (money) supply reduces for the 99% the population drops in tandem. As the population worldwide continues to drop our collective standard of living will rise. Not in dollars but in the more important aspects of life as a human. If a reduced world population is a bad thing does this mean that a ever growing population is a good thing? I think not. Humans have just about reached their peak in numbers and in my view this is a good thing. Less people equals a better life for all.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The boom in population the last 100 years or so will be viewed historically as a one time aberration. There WILL be a statistical reversion to the mean.

The ONLY problem is that governments have conned everybody into thinking economic EXPANSION is the ONLY way an economy stays healthy. (e.g. rising GDP).

Societies can shrink in size just as they can grow in size. There's NOTHING WRONG with either.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No one is saying there isn't an increased risk Cleo. Why not look at the stats that compares those over 20 and under 20 while you're at it as the risk increases for those over 20 compared to those under 20. Cherry picking.

You're also making huge assumptions on the healthy 45 years olds compared to those younger who might not look after themselves. Not to mention the studies that have suggested older mothers make better mothers due to their maturity. Nah. Let's just scare women into having kids earlier than they're ready for or not at all. Great idea.

And sorry, not interested in the back and forth. Perhaps you might like to read do e if the books I suggested instead.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The article is misleading. As is buried in the article itself, the birthrates are only dropping in the developed Western world. In the islamic and 3rd world, birth rates are going to the roof. World-wide, population continues to grow at a rapid rate. What is happening is simply a replacment. While the modern, enlightened world birth controls itself out of existence, the backward masses are taking over.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The less humans in this world, the less we consume and destroy the planet.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The underdeveloped and "backward" countries will increase their population to unsustainable levels, while the "civilized" modern countries maintain a sustainable population due to lower birth rates. Since we're still pretty worried about over-populating the planet as a whole, it is ideal for all countries to develop better education and career opportunities which increase the standards of living to comfortable levels which in turn decreases the amount of children born per home. As long as the 3rd world countries either choose not to strive, or need assistance to grow in those areas, they will destroy themselves or start to immigrate to the modernized countries. Happier people enjoy their lives enough to actually take more time to plan a family, where as depressed regions they only think about survival of their genes and probably have a higher infant/child mortality rate which leads to having large numbers of offspring.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

While the modern, enlightened world birth controls itself out of existence, the backward masses are taking over.

Adding to that, the last 100 plus years of industrialization including infrastructure, defense, wars, modern lifestyles and everything that goes with that, most of all, energy use, is why the 1st world nations are all in debt and "printing" like a Death Star at superluminal speed, and also why the BRICS and everyone else, not so much. Well, except for Zimbabwe.

So, if this corrupt banking system ever falls apart, those backward masses will thrive even more, while those urban dependent dwellers, sayonara.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why not look at the stats that compares those over 20 and under 20 while you're at it as the risk increases for those over 20 compared to those under 20.

Ok.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001516.htm

Adolescent pregnancy is associated with higher rates of illness and death for both the mother and infant.

Pregnant teens are at much higher risk of having serious medical complications such as:

Placenta previa

Pregnancy-induced hypertension

Premature delivery

Significant anemia

Toxemia

Infants born to teens are 2 - 6 times more likely to have low birth weight than those born to mothers age 20 or older.

The younger a mother is below age 20, the greater the risk of her infant dying during the first year of life.

and

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs364/en/

Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 years in many low- and middle-income countries. Stillbirths and newborn deaths are 50% higher among infants born to adolescent mothers than among those born to mothers aged 20-29 years. Infants of adolescent mothers are also more likely to have low birth weight, which can have a long-term impact on their health and development.

Granted the WHO report mentions specifically low- and middle-income countries but it also points out that adolescent births are more likely to occur among poor, less educated and rural populations. Your average 18- or 19-year-old new mum in Japan or elsewhere doesn't have a college degree, and unless her family are very supportive, is unlikely to get one.

sorry, not interested in the back and forth. Perhaps you might like to read do e if the books I suggested instead.

Don't like having your preconceptions (no pun intended) challenged? That's your prerogative. I had a very quick look at the Expecting-Better-Conventional-Pregnancy-Wisdom book you mentioned (very quick, just the bits amazon lets you look at). Pregnancy by an economics expert? I think I'll stick to getting data on gynaecology from a gynaecologist, thanks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Population growth is the biggest threat to humanity and these kinds of reports are very misleiding . World population is in growth and unless something drastic is done we will not survive this population explosion .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Classic goal post shifting. Stats on the topics YOU wrote about and perhaps special needs rather than births.

Oh and yes, a book by a stat and data expert who reads between the lines rather than just blindly following cherry picked data info.

You certainly seem very unsupportive of any woman who doesn't follow your guide to living. If an older women wants to havwe a child who are you to judge her? Slamming women and their choices seems to be a hobby of yours. Not everyone has the Leave it to Beaver lifestyle you have and trust me, not everyone wants it. You think you're supportive of women but your posts on here show you are anything but.

Right, enjoy your cherry picked stats and scare mongering, I enjoy critical thinking and taking misleading headlines and titles with a grain of salt.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Classic goal post shifting. Stats on the topics YOU wrote about and perhaps special needs rather than births.

It was you who brought up the joys of teenage mothers, not me. Not sure what you mean by 'special needs rather than births'. Babies at greater risk of dying in the first year of life aren't as important as kids with attention deficit?

yes, a book by a stat and data expert who reads between the lines rather than just blindly following cherry picked data info

I hardly think the WHO and NIH are organisations that cherry-pick their data. You might think so if they don't tell you what you want to hear, of course.

You certainly seem very unsupportive of any woman who doesn't follow your guide to living. If an older women wants to havwe a child who are you to judge her?

Any adult is free to do what they like with their own body. But when a person makes self-centred decisions that directly affect the welfare, wellbeing and perhaps even the health and life of another person - in this case the unborn child - then I think a bit of straight-speaking judgement is in order. How can it be acceptable for a woman to put off making a baby because she has 'better things to do' and then when the odds are well and truly stacked against the child, going ahead and giving birth by hook or by crook, regardless of the consequences? How is that not selfish?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The U.S. need not worry about population shrinkage, with the massive waves of illegals, I hardly doubt anybody would take an article like this seriously. The population in the U.S. is already over 300 million and expected to double that in the future.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry Cleo, but you do sound a bit judgmental. Different people have different lives and different experiences and they may also get together with partners who don't follow the point of view that you have put forward.

I get that you have kids, a happy marriage and a good life. That's really great and I'm happy for you. But the path you have chosen isn't available or desirable for a lot of other people. Calling them 'selfish' isn't very classy.

As for me - I'm in my forties and I have no children though I'm in a long term relationship of 19 years. Years ago 'I' probably did want kids but I gradually came to realize that it wasn't me that wanted them but others wanted kids for me. Especially as I and my partner are both teachers and both good with kids of all ages. I like kids, I really do, but I spend so much time with other people's kids that I almost feel that they're my own.

I would love to adopt but that isn't really 'done' here. I would love to be a stepmom but that also isn't an option. Luckily I can be a surrogate 'mom' to my students whose parents aren't in the country and the kids and the parents appreciate that.

Recently my man and I have been talking about having children a lot. And for you to call us selfish just highlights your ignorance. Yes, we're both aware that our ages put us more at risk but does that make us bad or evil people? When we devote most of our lives to other people's children are we really that selfish? Was teaching really just one of those ' better things to do'???' Right there you display contempt for other lifestyle choices.

Again, I'm glad you're happy with your life. Just don't impose it as a model of happiness on others who may not identify at all with your way of life...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I read this article about how the planet is overcrowded, and then I go to Nebraska, South, and North Dakota in the USA and see vast tracts of land where few to nobody live.

"High rates of abnormalities and conditions like adhd." ---kimuzukashiiiii, MAY. 10, 2014 - 07:27AM JST

ADHD and ADD are --- in the VAST amount of cases (though there are some who do have real problems) --- basically caused by terrible parents and parenting and/or trauma caused by divorce and separation of parents. They are NOT caused by women in their 40s having babies. ADD/ADHD "diagnoses" are, for the most part, simply cop-outs for and excuses of bad and/or irresponsible parenting (and I'd also say the same thing for most of the diagnoses for autism [though, again, there are serious and legitimate cases]). ADD/ADHD is largely a joke...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Jason We need much more space than our bodies occupy ,, those vast spaces are misleiding ,,if you like to know / calculate how much land is needed to support just one person , living a decent quality of life , we have already passed the point where the world can support us . Hence all the environmental issues and global warming and water shortages , energy crisis etc etc etc . We should not be concerned about the population shrinkage in SOME nations ,,on the contraray we should be VERY concerned about the unstopable population growth . All of the above problems are directly linked to population growth and that makes it the biggest threrat to humanity .

About the diseases and age of mother ,, it is generally accepted that 35 years old is just about the highest age a woman should be adviced to have kids when only mothers age as health risk is concerned .

I think sooner or later somehow we must make rules to limit the number of children one can be allowed to have since there seems no way around it . China s one child policy is beginning to sound more and more logical as the population is growing faster and faster . I think we have no other choice and more countries will have to apply similar rules in the future. .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

ADD/ADHD "diagnoses" are, for the most part, simply cop-outs for and excuses of bad and/or irresponsible parenting (and I'd also say the same thing for most of the diagnoses for autism [though, again, there are serious and legitimate cases]).

I cant speak for ADD/ADHD but to suggest that for the most part diagnoses of autism are down to bad parenting is pretty despicable actually. I have known many children on the spectrum over the years in a personal and professional capacity. In virtually every case their parents are amazing, caring, responsible, loving and far more patient than I think I could ever be. Does that equate to every case? No. But certainly not the case that it is caused by bad parenting in my experience as a parent, an educator and a volunteer in special needs schools for over 20 years.

Would you consider Downs to be caused by bad parenting? No, of course not. Its physically obvious. Just because autism isnt, doesnt make it simply down to bad parenting. I will give you ADHD though :) ! Seen some monster kids with (in some cases) equally monster parents....

Back on topic - I understand what Cleo is trying to say and whether we like it or not, the facts are the facts - the risks DO rise as you get older. HOWEVER - as many rightly point out, what is far less quantifiable is the risk to a child of having him or her when you are not ready. We all make the choices we make with the best of intentions at the time we make them. We are all on our own paths. I had mine at 30, 33 and 36. I never made a conscious choice that I would have a child in my 30s, but at that time it just "felt" right, unlike in my 20s when I hadnt met anyone I would consider having a child with anyway, and was probably no way ready for it either. Even at 36 in Japan, I was being warned of "risks".

But even having them in my early-mid 30s, when I was emotionally and financially ready, its been HARD at times - really hard - especially because I had no help or support for the most part, unlike many of my friends back home who had family living close by. Dont regret having them for a moment, but cant honestly say its been easy.

you dont have to have kids to lead a happy, fulfilling life. It is just one of several lifestyle choices. So to pussywillow and others, go ahead and good luck to you if that is REALLY what you want to do. Yes, your risks are higher, but they are not set in stone. You can manipulate much of your risk factors with healthy lifestyle choices before you ever conceive. You are going to be tired, but to be honest, I was 31 and KNACKERED with a child that never slept! So if you get lucky and get a baby who sleeps well at age 45 you will be fine! And if you are unlucky enough to have the Incredible Never Sleeping Baby like I had, you will both be mature enough to handle it.

I think people have way too much time on their hands these days to be judging other peoples lifestyle choices rather than worrying about their own! I sit and listen day after day in particular to a woman in the park after school where we all congregate giving a running commentary on a group of kids climbing on a fence and wondering where their parents are, while her own kid way off in the distance behind her back is completely unsupervised and regularly beating up other kids - including mine, once. Sigh...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Jason Lovelace Having dealt with ADD as a child requiring clinical help, but no longer as an adult through dietary changes, you have no idea what you're talking about and it becomes a kind of bigotry and ignorant windbaggism. That incidence increases is a call to action, not further abandonment.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What always worries me is the higher birthrates of third world countries. Because of lower BR in industrialized countries it becomes a hall mark argument for more immigration under the guise of more workers. But often those workers from poorer countries bring poverty with them. The end result is a 1st world country that steadily mimics the 3rd world. Mimics in terms of philosophy, behavior and cultural.

Women are suppose to have children, what ever amount they desire between the ages of 25-35 because that's when they are most fertile and healthiest. Yes the longer in middle age to elderly life a women chooses to have a child raises the possibilities of abnormalities. One really does not need some source to prove this, if you don't know by now then something is wrong with you.

Then there is the problem that many women in 1st world country's DO in fact want to have more children, but the effects of a bad economy prevents this. This is all a result of Govt inflationary policies and regulations that drive down the dominate currencies value thus making things more expensive to buy and maintain. Then there is the effects of high taxation that takes money away from families, thus leaving them with less money to do the things they want and need.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who says we all have to be productive? It's like economists are chasing us with a whip saying you must be productive! Let everyone chill out a bit. The creators of the rat race are getting ticked off cause people are saying they don't care about speeding up the economy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When social scientists, and people in general, discuss the worryingly low birthrate, I think what they actually mean is "all the wrong people are breeding.."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wow, the judgements. What's worse, a woman waiting until she meets the right person, has enough money and really wants a child or a loud mouthed, opinionated woman who thinks everyone who doesn't follow her way of life is wrong. I know which one I think is worse.

ADHD and ADD are --- in the VAST amount of cases (though there are some who do have real problems) --- basically caused by terrible parents and parenting and/or trauma caused by divorce and separation of parents. I'm not going to say the "vast" amount but I do agree that there are certainly issues with regards to parentingm diet and diagnoses of both ADHD and ADD. Attention spans need to be developed over time and I don't believe that is happening for many kids. I would love to see the stats on age, income, martical stat and parent education with regards ot this because while I do think it is an issue for some kids, I don't believe it is for many who are jacked up on meds. Tend to think the younger parents have higher rates of kids that are supposedly sufferers but I have never seen data to support that so it's jsut a hunch.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"We tend to think economic growth comes from working harder and smarter. But economists attribute up to a third of it to more people joining the workforce each year than leaving it. The result is more producing, earning and spending."

So the admit, economy is a ponzi scheme. If the number of new joiners are less than the number of quitters, we'll be doomed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fort he record, NathalieB, sf2k, johndpugh, tmarie, and others who accuse me of "not knowing what I'm talking abut", I've been a teacher for more than twenty years, and have seen what ADD/ADHD and Autism look like in those affected by them. I've also seen fakers and children who were misdiagnosed. And NathalieB, there's a WORLD of difference between Downs and Autism (and, again, as a career teacher, I've experienced and encountered both). Hard to fake Downs; not as difficult to fake Autism, ADD/ADHD. And, again, there are real cases of ADD/ADHD and Autism....not saying the problems don't exist; am merely saying that sometimes parents who really don't want to be will find an excuse....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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