Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Fear of children

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article about Californians' views on birth control. What gets me is the assumption it makes that its population problem is due to Californians having too many children.

As Californians proliferate with rabbit-like efficiency, the state's residents are surprisingly of one mind about how to deal with overpopulation. Whether they're liberal Democrats or evangelical Christians, they favor sex education and access by the young to birth control.
-- Fifty-three percent mistakenly see immigration from abroad as the biggest cause of the state's population growth, even though births to residents are mainly responsible for the increase -- something only 12 percent of respondents realize.

Okay, now that you've read that far, what do you imagine California's birth rate to be? Too high? Would you be surprised to hear that it's basically at replacement rate? In 2004 California's Total Fertility Rate was 2.13. Replacement rate (which basically keeps the population stable) is between 2.1 and 2.2.

When we look at the actual numbers, growth via birth is higher than via immigration, but not by much. Every year around 500,000 people are born in California and around 340,000 people immigrate.

I am not anti-immigration. But to suggest that a healthy birthrate is bad and needs to be curbed via birth control (including abortion) is sick. It's this sickness that's led to sub-replacement birthrates in Japan and Europe. (It's problematic trying to maintain social programs when your workforce and tax base is shrinking.) It's this sickness that's leading to population growth in most of America's (conservative) "red states" compared to its (liberal) "blue states".

Liberals need to wake up and smell the coffee. If they want their ideals to thrive, they need to stop being so afraid of children.

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