Without children, the future holds no hope

Aug 4, 2019 by

by Will Jones, Faith and Politics:

Official figures released this week show that England and Wales are now experiencing their lowest birth rates since records began 80 years ago.

The Daily Mail quotes Conservative Woman’s Kathy Gyngell saying it heralds a ‘long-term decline in numbers of babies’ and is a ‘social disaster’. She’s not wrong.

Birth rates have been in long term decline since the end of the post-war baby boom, plummeting as the contraception-fuelled 1960s sexual revolution got under way. They rallied a little in the 1980s boom years before returning to decline in the recession-hit 1990s.

Birth rate England and Wales

Mass immigration under the Blair government in the 2000s saw a surge in births among foreign-born parents. But even with such births holding steady today at around 28 per cent, overall rates in 2018 have dropped to their lowest level yet, just 11.1 live births per 1,000 population. This is down from a baby-boom high of 18.5 per 1,000 population.

The new low represents a fertility rate of around 1.7 children per woman – well below the replacement rate of 2.1. This means the home population of the UK (rates are similar in Scotland and Northern Ireland) is declining, and the current increase in the UK population of around 390,000 per year is entirely a result of net inward migration.

Modern economies with large welfare states rely on a stable or growing population to avert a ‘demographic crisis’ where the burden on the working-age population to support the older non-working population pushes tax rates to uncompetitive and unsustainable levels. This is one reason why immigration proponents regard high immigration as necessary when birth rates are low.

In the long term if birth rates do not pick up, or do so only among more recent immigrant groups, the result will be ever-increasing cultural and ethnic diversity in British cities and among the British population.

High levels of social and cultural diversity are known to reduce social cohesion and trust within a population and impede the process of integration of newcomers. They also make it more difficult to put a stop to harmful cultural practices and hostile attitudes among minority groups.

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