Watch this cutting-edge presentation on world population

Literally the only thing that helps with a drop in birth rate is giving women freedom and reproductive choice. Letting women be equal citizens drops the birth rate. Nothing else.


What is this sound logic?


I think your statement is more true in still developing countries, like in the example of Bangladesh where one COULD still afford 4-5 kids. But I don’t think that explains things like immigrants conforming to the new host countries birth rate within a generation. Certainly attitudes may change, women may have more freedom, choices and equality. But even among families where they may still have more patriarchal traditions, the male is also in on the idea of having less kids because he can’t afford to provide for a half dozen kids.

Again, I remember 10ish years ago these panic videos in Europe that the influx of immigrants will have them bred into a minority in like 4 generations (if they were to keep their average birthrate of where they came from.) There is similar propaganda for Mexican and South American immigrants here.

But yes, I agree with your premise. Even in places with lower birth rates, like the US, access to options and making their own choices is the #1 thing to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Everyone who is anti-abortion should be pro education and pro free contraception. The program in Colorado is a great case study to show it works.

That’s right, why just this morning there were -Gold Tortoise Beetles- conferencing on weeds in the garden. On their tiny Speck cellphone cases (pretty sure, gotta get that data.) They had a local Slack and were listening to After On and occasionally an NPR story on raptors or their own on digestives for salmonella colonies. I smashed a scary big one and it dropped shade on using it for pigment reflecting my own dysmorphia.

@Mindysan33 is partly right. If cost of living was the factor, then America, where there are essentially no government mandated benefits, would have the lowest birth rate in the world and countries like Sweden, where the expenses of families are supported and subsidized every which way, would have the highest. In fact both have a low birth rate (1.84 vs 1.88). But the Ukraine’s birth rate is even lower (1.5), as is Japan’s (1.46).

But female emancipation and access to birth control is not the only factor. Strongly sexist societies where women are pretty unfree have experienced drops in birth rate as well. In the 70’s when worry about the population bomb was most high, you had loads of countries where the government was shoving contraception at people with little to no impact on the birth rate. But within a few years the birth rate started to fall in almost every country outside sub Saharan Africa.

Lots of studies point to a combination of access to birth control and women’s education as the lead cause of this demographic transition. But it doesn’t seem to work in every case. You have countries where women go to school but still have lots of babies, and places where women are not educated very much, but the birth rate has still fallen.

The key ingredient seems to be women’s access to media, and media representations of small families. India collects lots of statistics about itself, and its demographics range from states where the birthrate is still ruinously high to states where it has fallen to European levels. This essay goes through a bunch of factors that are often singled out as causes of the demographic transition to low birth rates and finds Indian states where the correlation does not apply for almost every suggested cause. The one measurement that seems to exactly fit the demographic data is women’s exposure to media (mostly TV).

Here’s a pdf paper on the impact of television on the dramatic drop in fertility in Brazil (from a fertility rate of 6.25 in 1960 to 1.81 in 2011). The bottom line is that drops in Brazilian fertility track very closely with the expansion of the Rede Globo TV network, which was the only network there to air Brazilian-made soap operas (novelas). The correlation of fertility drop doesn’t apply for other networks (which aired imported shows). So the key to Brazil’s drop in fertility was women seeing women like themselves on TV who had small families.

In sum, representation is even more important than we think it is. Education and access to birth control for women are important, but so is seeing dramas about small families on TV can inspire even uneducated women to want to have a small family themselves.

So the population bomb was defused by producers who didn’t want to pay for a large cast of characters, and by scriptwriters who couldn’t do justice to a big cast within the confines of a weekly serial drama.

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