(Picture: Getty/Digital Vision)
An interesting article below from the Globe and Mail about low birth and fertility rates in Canada and elsewhere plus my added commentary along with related information I have collected.
Canada and many countries in the West, parts of Asia and South America have birth rates between 1.4 – 1.9 child per female or lower. Without increasing rates and immigration some of these will go bankrupt or extinct in the long run.
Many people in these countries are concerned that large immigration from countries with very different values related to seperation of church from state, equal or civil rights and similar will overtime undermine what has made their countries relatively safe, free of radicalization, prosperous and attractive to immigration in the first place.
Many experts saying our planet can’t sustain the overal global rate of population growth, energy consumption based on current food production and other technology, fresh and clean drinking water and other resources plus how we are treating the environment.
Birth control use in these countries is the main factor for the lower rates but what is causing so many women to not find a partner, not have children or delay so long it becomes too late?
Many universities in these countries have seen shifts of about 70% male students to 70% female. Many couples or families with one child can’t afford to have more or for one parent to stay home with the kids. This can often lead to a hectic lifestyle not conducive to getting pregnant.
Many women say they can’t find a man that is motivated or interested enough.
Here is a few things researchers are saying are affecting boys and young men’s motivation:
- Video games. These addictive activities disengage boys from the world. Some young men even seem to prefer online porno to the prospect of sex with another human being.
- Teaching methods. Girls develop intellectually up to two years ahead of boys. Boys in grade school are naturally rambunctious. They need ways to express their native energy. They are being taught to read and write too early. Their mostly female teachers prefer compliant, dutiful girls.
- Prescription drugs. Hyperactive, frustrated boys are increasingly being medicated. This we all know. What Sax claims is that these drugs shrink the motivational centres of the brain and that the effect of this lasts years, well after these kids stop taking their meds. I hadn’t heard this before but if it’s true, it is truly frightening.
- Endocrine disruptors. Chemicals from plastic bottles, canned food linings and some shampoos mimic natural estrogen, the female hormone. Boys’ testosterone levels are half of what they were in their grandfathers’ day. Also, their bones are significantly more brittle.
- The devaluation of masculinity. Boys don’t know how to become men. They no longer have appropriate rights of passage. Once Father Knows Best was the paternalistic model but now he has been replaced (and mocked) by a dopey Homer Simpson. Sax likes the old virtues of courage and temperance, with a good measure of intelligence.
Men that frequently use laptops on their lap or tight fitting underwear and pants can overheat their testicles which reduces sperm count and fertility.
Some men choose a simple vasectomy after they have had enough kids for their own reasons or so their partner does not need to take birth control and the higher risks this may have.
Girls are entering puberty earlier. Many of these and young women incouraged to use birth control pills even if they not being sexually active to regulate menstration. Even with known issues with increased risks of depression and other side effects.
Are these having long lasting or unknown effects like some medications? If they not sure more independent and proper scientific studies need to be done. In the mean time would recommending other forms of birth control for sexually active women be better?
So environmental (pollution including hormone mimicers or disruptors), food industry (hormones and additives), additives in shampoo and other products, some medications plus some societal and culture changes are all having negative effects on boys, girls, men, women, birth rates, health and more.
This puts us in a bit of a condumdrum.
How we move forward is important and ignoring will only result in matters getting worse.
Globe and Mail – May 11 2018
More on lack of motivation of boys and young men plus what can be done.
Reducing childrens screen time and much more
Where have all the mommies gone?
May 11 2018
Motherhood isn’t what it used to be. What it used to be was easy – no muss, no fuss and very little forethought. My mom had me at 22. My parents didn’t have a dime, but so what? They lived with her parents until No. 3 was born. When my husband was a baby, he slept in a dresser drawer.
Today, among the upper-middle class, every step of parenthood is meticulously planned, like a military campaign, or a mission to the moon. Children are no longer milestones along the road of adult life. They are capstones. They are the achievement that comes after you’ve achieved everything else. First comes university, then establishing a career, then finding a suitable mate, then saving up for that million-dollar fixer-upper in a trendy neighbourhood. Finally – if your eggs haven’t expired yet – you can start to think about a baby, by which time you will be at least as old as my mother was when I started dating.
Today, the motherhood decision is fraught with trade-offs, deadlines and, especially, angst. No wonder Sheila Heti is so hot.
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Ms. Heti’s new book, Motherhood, is a must-read among the thirty-something set. It is the lightly fictionalized story (something known as “autofiction”) of a late thirty-something writer, not unlike Ms. Heti herself, who is torn over whether to have a child before it’s too late. Can she bear to sacrifice her fulfilling life as a writer? How would she endure an existence that’s so terminally boring and unfree? … Etc., etc. for 300 agonizing pages. (Spoiler: By the time she finished the book, her childbearing days were over).
The most striking thing about this book is that at no time in history, before now, could anyone have written anything remotely like it. I’m not talking about the technology that allows us to regulate fertility, but about the mindset that shapes the way we think about the purpose and meaning of children. What are they good for, anyway? Our remote ancestors never asked that question, any more than cats and dogs do. Children were essential to replenish the tribe and contribute to the collective good. They were a source of labour and a guaranteed old-age plan. They were a way to honour God, to replicate your genes, and to perpetuate the family name.
For half a million years, children were a necessity, a duty and a pleasure – more or less in that order. But now, they are basically a lifestyle choice. And they compete with many other lifestyles, such as being a celebrated author. Children are not vessels for the altruistic investments of adults. They are means for the self-actualization of adults. Nor can you count on them as productive assets. They represent 25 years, or possibly a lifetime, of sunk costs, with an uncertain return. And now that women have found satisfying lives outside the home, the awful truth has begun to dawn: The maternal instinct can be overcome surprisingly easily.
Among population scholars, the flight of the mommies is the subject of much scholarly debate. It is just one of the features of what‘s known as the “second demographic transition.” The first demographic transition is familiar to us all. It’s marked by falling fertility and mortality rates, and invariably accompanies economic prosperity. The second demographic transition, according to the scholars who coined the term, is marked by “sustained subreplacement fertility, a multitude of different living arrangements other than marriage, [and] a disconnection between marriage and procreation.” This transition has spread not just across the Western world, but also to Asia and South America.
People used to think that fertility rates would bottom out once they reached replacement level, which is roughly 2.1 births for each woman. Instead, they just kept going down. Today, Canada’s fertility rate is a miserable 1.6. Italy is at 1.4, Brazil at 1.9, Denmark at 1.7, Germany at 1.4, while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are below 1.4. Unless these countries can persuade women to have more children (or encourage massive immigration), they’ll go broke. And then they’ll go extinct.
Ms. Heti is part of the problem. But I am, too. I took my sweet time to settle on a mate because I too was fond of my career. By the time I got around to contemplating my options, they were gone. (Hint to thirty-somethings: Only Rachel Weisz gets pregnant at 48.) Childlessness wasn’t a choice, really. It was more or less an accident, just as it was for millions of other women who had no idea they were creating the second demographic transition.
What would it take to end it? I have no idea. And neither does anybody else.