Jokes went around on social media that COVID-19 lockdown would lead to baby boom across the globe. But the reality is totally opposite. Developed countries and a few developing countries are experiencing a rapid decline in birth rates. Even many cities in Italy have announced cash incentives to purchase an old home and stay there permanently to boost population growth. It might seem contradictory that people who are economically well-off and have access to quality education and healthcare suffer fertility issues. What are the reasons that lead to a drop in fertility rate in developed countries? Let’s take a deep-dive to understand the factors and what those nations can do to reverse the trend.
During 1960’s, one third of the population lived in the cities, but today more than 60% have moved in. The immigration has altered their lifestyle to adapt to the economic changes. More children would mean feeding extra mouths, making it difficult for them to lead a comfortable life. Therefore, many choose to have a fewer kids.
Changes In Women’s Lifestyle
More and more women are getting educated and enter a career to live a rewarding and independent life different from their mothers and grandmothers. As they focus on getting employment, marriage becomes their second priority. Most women get married late, which also becomes one of the factors for fertility decline due to ovarian aging. Access to contraceptives also helps them prevent pregnancy at an early age.
Desire For Quality Life
Many parents strive to achieve parental happiness with a fewer children. From bringing up the kids and taking care of their education to providing them all the necessary comforts, it would cost a lot of money. If there are many children, it can become stressful for parents to earn more. Having one or two children enables them to provide quality life and enjoy life without going through debts.
Parenting Less Attractive
Child bearing is no more an attractive aspect for many women. There has been a change in perception of childbirth, as they consider it stressful and unmanageable. Dedicating their most of the time for childcare make them take extra precautions to not have a baby.
What Should Developed Nations Do To Boost Population Growth?
The strength of the population determines the economic growth. If the population gets old, the country may suffer from an inevitable economic downfall, as taking care of senior citizens will be expensive with no young population to generate revenue.
The countries must allow immigrants to work and stay there permanently. Canada has granted permanent residency to over 222,000 immigrants during 2021 to manage population decline. Similarly, many European countries have opened their doors to immigrants to work and settle there.
People who have more children must be given adequate economical support through cash incentives, tax breaks, subsidies, free education, and healthcare benefits.
Young people in countries like Japan and China hesitate to start a family due to low wages, short-term work contracts, and expensive housing. The governments must take steps to offer standard wages and promote work-life balance to focus on family life.
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