Countries all over the world are experiencing falling birthrates. “Demographers now predict that by the latter half of the century or possibly earlier, the global population will enter a sustained decline for the first time…The ramifications and responses have already begun to appear, especially in East Asia and Europe.
From Hungary to China, from Sweden to Japan, governments are struggling to balance the demands of a swelling older cohort with the needs of young people whose most intimate decisions about childbearing are being shaped by factors both positive (more work opportunities for women) and negative (persistent gender inequality and high living costs),” reports the New York Times.
Last week, China announced it will now allow married couples to have up to three children—in a dramatic attempt to increase birthrates. According to NPR, “The policy is a dramatic change for a country which, less than a decade ago, still performed forced abortions and sterilizations of women who had more than one child. The new three child limit raises the previous ceiling of two children. It is a recognition from the country’s top leaders that China will need to undertake drastic measures to counter a rapidly aging society.”
But in a recent poll of 300+ Sermo physicians, the majority said this news was not alarming. While 69% said their country was seeing declining birthrates; and 60% said their patients had expressed a desire to have fewer children and/or delay pregnancy—62% said they were not concerned by the global drop.
When asked why they believe birthrates are dropping around the world, this was what the doctors said:
- 69% said economic reasons
- 64% said women are delaying pregnancy
- 56% said higher levels of education in women
- 55% said better access to contraception
- 55% said increasing numbers of women in the workforce
- 40% said couples feel less pressure to reproduce
Seventy-two percent of physicians believe there could be benefits to a population decrease.
Here is more of what Sermo physicians have to say on this subject—in their own words:
The world is overpopulated and the planet can not sustain it. Thought for the day: could it be an evolutionary change in psychology? To have lesser offsprings to sustain the species?General Practice (GP)
Complex issue. Fewer people overall equates to less CO2 production. But we’re not all fungible widgets, fewer people in certain areas can be a real problem for the economy, sustaining culture etc.Pediatrics (excluding surgery)
There are too many people already in the world for the limited resources of the planet to sustain. A decline would mean better conditions for all, and take the pressure off the forces causing global warming.Pediatrics (excluding surgery)
I think that at this moment, the world does not need so many humans, which we destroy everything in our path in order to generate economic wealth. If there are fewer people, perhaps there will be a little more equality in the distribution of resources.Family Medicine / Practice (FP)
In response to the new 3 children policy, a poll of 20,000 people of child bearing age in China shows that 13,000 responders express no interest in having 3 children. A young couple in their 20s or 30s are already responsible for 4 aging parent, 2 full time jobs, and are stuck with middle class trappings of mortgage and car payments. They have no more resolve or resources to be responsible for 3 kids. The irony is that now that they are allow to have more than one child but they simply can not afford it.Ophthalmology