Baby Boom or Bust? Media Gets it Wrong – Again



According to recent media accounts, America is in a population death spiral. Open-borders activists have seized on the narrative to promote ever-looser immigration policies.

But the narrative is wrong.

In fact, women in the U.S. are more likely to be mothers than in the past, and they are having more children, reports the Pew Research Center.

The Pew study found that women have 2.07 children during their lives on average – up from 1.86 in 2006, the lowest on record. Family size is also up. In 2016, mothers at the end of their childbearing years had had about 2.42 children, compared with 2.31 in 2008.

So, what about those dire warnings of a U.S. population collapse?

 The Pew analysis is properly calculated on a cumulative measure of lifetime fertility — the number of births a woman has ever had. Reports of alleged declining U.S. fertility are based on less accurate annual rates, which only capture fertility at one point in time.

In fact, the share of U.S. women at the end of their childbearing years who have ever given birth was higher in 2016 than 10 years earlier. Not only are women more likely to be mothers than in the past, but they are having more children.

As Donna Strobino, a professor of population, family and reproductive health at the Johns Hopkins University, puts it: Women are delaying having children, rather than not having children at all.

These are inconvenient truths for neo-mercantilists trying to exploit the media’s simple-minded herd instinct and the misplaced compassion of immigration enthusiasts to advance a population fetish.

For all the alarmist rhetoric about its impending collapse, America’s population has swelled from 203 million in 1970 to more than 328 million this year, with no end in sight.

The U.S. is the third most populous country on Earth, behind India and China. Its annual population growth rate is 0.7 percent – between China’s 0.39 percent and India’s 1.11 percent.

Immigration clearly enters into the equation here. Pew reports that nearly a quarter of U.S. births in 2014 were to foreign-born mothers, and about a third of those were to illegal aliens.

So how many more millions should the United States welcome aboard? It’s a crucial question; a dispassionate answer will be based on the cost-benefits to America, and the impact on this country’s environment and institutions. Scaremongering about a supposed scarcity of service workers and Social Security contributors is not the basis for sound policy when demographic data don’t support the story line.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

5 Comments

  1. avatar

    @ LELAND “Population control used to be a liberal position.”

    Population control still is the leftist position. The difference is, the population they want to eliminate is the white one and then replace it with a brown one. Much easily to implement their Marxist policies that way.

  2. avatar
    Veronica M Reimann on

    . These illegal foreign nationals are breeding like rabbits. Is it because they do not understand birth control or is it for playing the American taxpayers for suckers & getting on welfare.??. Yes you have a right to have as many children as you can afford, yes I said as you can afford. But not at the expense of the American citizen taxpayers. Send them all back to country of origin alone with an invoice for the money we have paid out for them. Just stop any foreign aide to those countries

    • avatar

      Children are a blessing , and as illegal aliens don’t pay a dime for prenatal care or the hospital stay when they give birth ., they are free to have as many children as they desire, all bestowed with U. S. citizenship.. These kids receive welfare for potentially the rest of their lives . Americans pay dearly for their health insurance , hospital care , medical care , and living expenses for their children , and subsequently, have lower birthdates . Abolishing birthright citizenship is a number one priority in my opinion.

  3. avatar

    Population control used to be a liberal position. Immigration limits were a mainstay of the Sierra Club before the 90s because of the stress put on the environment by population growth fueled by immigration. Now you are a racist bigot if you hold that same position. In the early 70s the Rockefeller Commission on US Population Growth concluded that no advantage was to be obtained by further growth in our then population of just over 200 million.

    The left wants this country to reduce it’s greenhouse gases to reduce pollution but absolutely refuses to acknowledge that any progress we make in that area is all for naught when we have been growing by 25 to 30 million per decade for the last 30 years, most of that due to immigrants and their higher birth rates here. The late liberal Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, called the father of Earth Day, said you cannot separate the issues of environmental protection and immigration, and that all the name calling in the world doesn’t change that fact.

  4. avatar

    In 1945 with a population less than half of what Is today, America bestrode the earth like a colossus. With almost zero immigration she was the greatest manufacturer on the planet and its largest creditor. Now approaching 400 million, she is a declining pitiful giant, and the world’s largest debtor.

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