The Population Lie

2018 | Week of July 16 | #1264

For years one of the secular humanists’, aka liberal progressives’ lies has been that we have a population problem—to be more specific, they assert we have an overpopulation problem. Surely you’ve heard that if we don’t start having fewer children, we will run out of food and water and destroy the environment completely.

Over the years many have bought this mantra, not just in the United States, but worldwide. China instituted a one-child policy, which they recently revised to two-children. Other countries disincentivized child bearing with policies and cultural pressure.  The result, dramatically reduced fertility rates in many countries, including the United States.

I frequently get quizzical looks when I talk about fertility rates, telling me many people don’t know what fertility rates mean, let alone why they are important. Essentially, fertility rate is the number of children born to women in child-bearing years. Demographers look at fertility rates by states, countries and worldwide measures.

The standard measure is known as “replacement fertility rate.” On average, universally, that number is 2.1 children born to each woman during her child-bearing years.  Replacement means a population will be maintained; it doesn’t grow at that number. It takes being above 2.1 for growth, and of course population decline happens the fertility rates is below 2.1 for any sustained amount of time. For any society to ensure its future, it must be able to at least replace its population. That should be a proverbial no-braine,r but it clearly isn’t.

We’ll start with Wisconsin. Wisconsin has been below replacement rate in fertility since 1974, the year after the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion on demand in all 50 states. We have bounced around between 1.8 and 1.9 fertility rate each year. That is a sustained repressed fertility rate. And it is now showing up.

Governor Walker says we have 100,000 jobs posted on the state’s job site. We have Foxconn coming in needing at least 13,000 workers and potentially a new Amazon headquarters looking for employees.  We simply don’t have people to fill all these positions.  That’s why late this spring Governor Walker asked the state legislature for and received $7 million to recruit people from other states to come to Wisconsin and work.

Our population problem is showing up in our schools, as well. At a public hearing on an education bill this past spring, I heard an official from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards say that 62% of the state’s 424 school districts are facing declining enrollments.  As a result, school districts are scrambling to figure out how to maintain the status quo, meaning they don’t want to cut faculty or staff; so they are going to the people with local referenda, asking them to pay more money locally because they aren’t getting as much money from the state. The state pays school districts so-called “aid” on a per-student basis. The more students, the more state money.

Wisconsin has avoided major calamities up to recent times because prior to 2006 we had more people moving into the state than leaving it and because people are living longer.  After 2006, our migration numbers have shifted, however; and each year since we’ve had more people leaving our state than coming in.  Put this migration issue with the fertility issue and our employment and school situation certainly makes sense. Eventually this will hit our finances, as well, with fewer taxpayers paying into the system.

Nationally, we have held right at 2.0 or 2.1 for many, many years. However, in the last few years, we have dipped to 1.8. While this is not at this point a sustained trend, it is something that definitely bears watching.

Admittedly, it takes some time for fertility issues to surface; but when they do, they must be addressed.  Wisconsin needs to enact policies that encourage marriage and childbearing, and more importantly we need a cultural shift. That will happen only when individual families, local churches and communities begin taking seriously their role of being marriage champions. Fertility not directly linked to marriage is not the answer, but promoting marriage and family as God designed it is, for all people at all times. As usual the secular humanists are flat-out wrong.

This is Julaine Appling with Wisconsin Family Council, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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