Falling birth rate bigger worry than overpopulation, says study

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Published: April 23, 2019 5:08:14 PM

Each child born today eventually grows up to make resources less scarce, on average, by contributing to innovation and the global economy.

The world around has been of the view of keeping the population under control to prevent resource crunch. This has led to many countries such as China to opt for policies such as One- Child policy and others to impose tax penalties for having too many children. However, the consequent falling birth rates around the world may not be something to cheer for, says a report.

“According to recently published Simon Abundance Index, for each 1 percet increase in population, the average time price (time taken by a typical worker to earn enough money to buy commodities) the cost of commodities has fallen by almost 1 percent,” HumanProgress said in a recent report. Each child born today eventually grows up to make resources less scarce, on average, by contributing to innovation and the global economy.

Instead, the report noted that the falling fertility rates could have far-reaching negative economic consequences as economies face aging and the working population shrinks. Pointing out that the economic growth may slow down with fewer people to innovate, the authors of Simon Index — economist Julian Simon and biologist Paul Erhlich said, “In addition to more labor, a growing population produces more ideas. More ideas lead to more innovations, and more innovations improve productivity. Finally, higher productivity translates to better standards of living.”

With fertility rates already falling, there is no need to worry about overpopulation, said HumanProgress in a report.

While in developing economies, reduction in birth rates are on the back of low infant and childhood mortality, and more women in education and the workforce. On the other hand, in the developed economies unrealistic social and cultural parenting expectations have made childbearing more burdensome than was the case for previous generations.

In developing countries, falling fertility rates are driven by fewer infant and childhood deaths, allowing for smaller family sizes. More women in education and the workforce also result in lower birth rates. In developed countries, unrealistic social and cultural parenting expectations are making childbearing more burdensome than was the case for previous generations.

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Moreover, the government over regulation has distorted the education, childcare and healthcare, making child-rearing more expensive.

Therefore, overpopulation should not be a point of concern as the more new people in the world engaging in cooperative exchange and putting their minds toward solving problems — including environmental problems — the better off we will all be, said the report.

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