Sunday, 14 June 2009

Where did the children go?

Here is another one of those shocking UK demographic trends. There are 2.4 million fewer children today in the UK than back in 1971. Back then, children accounted for 27 percent of the population, now it is just 20 percent.

Like so much of manufacturing, child rearing has been downsized. We have substituted the population shortfall by importing people from overseas. Before you dismiss this idea as woefully simplistic, child production is powerfully influenced by cost considerations. The cost of having a child in the UK has increased dramatically. Thus it would appear that UK residents have substituted children for leisure and other consumption goods.

Or to put it another way, if the UK labour force was growing through births as fast as it was in 1971, the available worforce would be much larger. The larger supply would put downward pressure on wages, and would therefore discourage foreign workers from moving over here. There would also be more indigenously produced workers to do the crap jobs now down by immigrants.

The conclusion is a difficult one for the racists. UK families have chosen to have fewer children and have more plasma TVs. It has outsourced the difficult task of producing additional workers to Eastern Europe.


Anonymous said...

so we all ought to have more children so they can do crap jobs for low pay? That is just not what most parents aspire to for their children.

Here is a better idea. Reduce the working week to 30 hours. Tax at 99% over 1,000,000 pounds pa. Pay crap jobs better wages.

Anonymous said...

Feminism is responsible for the drop in childbirth. Look at the timing of the first feminist wave and the immediate drop in birth rate.

The biggest failure of feminism was that it ended up denying the right of the many women who actually(!) wanted to look after their own children instead of doing some pointless job.

Anonymous said...

(Same anonymous as 6.30)

Just read the previous post about huge population density of UK. And we need more children? NO, we need some joined up thinking!

PS Alice, love your blog but this one is a lemon!

Tim Glover

Anonymous said...

You just put up a controversial conclusion next to these charts to spark a debate, don't you?

The hidden statistic is the distribution of childbirth in socioeconomic groups. There is ( purely anecdotal ) a subgroup which maintains its fecundity. The Kevin & Tracy from The Estate. They can afford bigger families than the skilled workers because they live on welfare. But their kids don't drive down wages, because those kids don't want to work either.

The fall in birth rate is common to all western countries except Ireland. I suspect it has many causes, but one of them is better education of women. Perhaps there is a graph out there of birth rate versus educational achievement over time.

We used to kill all the boys off every 20 years in warfare. I am alarmed at the higher birthrate of boys vs girls, when peace is a longterm trend.

Alice Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice Cook said...

Anon 16:46

Well, yes, I do put up charts to provoke debate. Why would I do it otherwise?

Your argument about Kevin and Tracey from the estate is a variation on my theme. If the state subsidizes the cost of having children, then the birth rate will rise.

Better education for women raises the cost of children in terms of foregone income.

And I am NOT going to blame Feminism for a falling birth rate. Child rearing is a joint project that should be shared equally by both parents.


APL said...

Alice: "Where did the children go?"

The obvious answer, aborted. 5million or so since the '67 act. A good number of those would have had children of their own by now.

Alice: "if the UK labour force was growing through births as fast as it was in 1971, the available worforce would be much larger. The larger supply would put downward pressure on wages, .. "

But the government has frustrated the 'downward pressure on wages' by introducing the minimum wage.

Alice: "and would therefore discourage foreign workers from moving over here."

I disagree, Even a pittance is a kings ransom for someone who might be able to earn a $1 a day in his home country.

If we cut back on the welfare, perhaps by making 5 years* tax and NI contributions a minimum mandatory requirement before benefits will be provided, that might reduce the attraction to foreign migrants of the UK.

I rather think we ought to be offering bounties to those who are well qualified though.

* I would prefer ten years of contributions.

Anonymous said...

Alice you have pointed out in former posts very well that the UK government is wedded to high house prices.

Have you ever considered that that policy is just as ethnocidal as mass immigration?

APL said...

Alice: "It has outsourced the difficult task of producing additional workers to Eastern Europe."

Something like 13 - 20% of the workforce are on long term sick benefit.

I would say we have chosen not to employ our own workforce.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true feminist; I'm relieved. How about this take: Raising many children used to be an insurance against the negative consequences of infirmity and old age. Now we rely on pensions for that. And speaking of feminism, marriage used to be mainly an economic arrangement. Couples were willing to put up with more from their spouses because they had no real alternative. Now, like you pointed out in an earlier post, an increasing number of households consists of one person. Contrary to what some people commenting on your blog seem to think, being a single mother isn't all that lucrative. In strictly economic terms, having children has no upside anymore, only downside.
In emotional terms, I would guess it's a case diminishing returns as the litter grows. Oh, and are there any statistics on fertility rates out there? I suspect they're dropping too, though I have no idea why.

Roue le Jour said...

And then, of course, there's divorce. If a couple live together, both work and pay the mortgage jointly, there's little incentive to split up.

But if the couple has children the wife can divorce and keep the house, children and a substantial part of her former husband's income.

From the point of view of a man with a good income, having a child just makes you a target. Your wife can divorce on a whim, social workers think your a threat to your own children and evil Dr Katharine Wake wants to force you to change nappies. And that's before you get onto the schools you wouldn't send a dog to.

BTW, it was women entering the workforce and demanding their incomes be taken into account for mortgage purposes that pushed up house prices in the first place. In the old days, only a husband's wage was used because it was assumed the wife would soon stop work and start a family. Now the wife's income is taken into account, she cannot afford to. Another unintended consequence.

Barry said...

Alice your reasoning is suspect when it comes to stating that bringing up children is for two people, traditionally between a man and woman. This partnership was destroyed because by and large men were men were pushed out of the equation, essentially because of feminist intentions, its the woman's right to choose etc. Inevitably many men now no longer want to bother, why would they. So feminism has a role in this, it does not good to pretend otherwise.

OldSouth said...

Thanks for posting this, Alice. It does stir up the emotions, does it not?

Unfortunately, Rue le Jour has a point, and I do wish it were not true, especially the bit in paragraph three.

But, more basically, I think your conclusion in your final paragraph is right on point. We have all tended to trade in the eternal and precious for the temporary and attractive; and although happily a parent, I confess to the same failing. It's an easy trap into which we all can fall.

Mick said...

white femailes are breeding at a later age and having fewer children.

British women of asian descent breed more and start younger.

Women living in Britain but born in the Indian sub-continent start even younger and breed even more.

source: ONS

And no, I don't support the BNP - but I am concerned.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Barry.

Whilst you cannot blame women for taking jobs and careers..if this is feminism..then it does have something to do with the drop in birth rate.

I would add also the rising costs of healthcare, a decline in moral standards and inflation.

France has a high birth rate..however it does have an excellent support and incentive system. This is a progressive tax break system which gives you more tax breaks the more kids you have....not free cash but young frenchies pump them out like noones business.

Conversely in Germany the government gives you free cash and incentives however it removes them if the woman continues to work. We know about this acutely as just over the Rhine from us here in Strasbourg we know a couple who just had a baby. Germany is ageing badly...

Whilst there is a need in my opinion, to share the workload..there must be a better solution.

We could always try to grow babies like in the Brave New World...maybe Brown can push for that in a new science R&D initiative.


Nick Drew said...

number of children isn't the only statistic shrinking before our eyes

John Savage said...

APL said...

"The obvious answer, aborted. 5million or so since the '67 act"

That is the saddest thing have read today and has made me feel quite depressed.

I am not completely against abortion, indeed I was even partly responsible for one many years ago - although irresponsible would be a better word, I was lost up my own arse and not the man I could have been. So I guess I have regret and a personal axe to grind. But I did learn a lesson and made up for it the next time it happened.

But those figures are slaughter on a vast scale.

Still, as Stalin said, 'one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic' and I guess that is how the righteous and the right on believe we should feel about these things.

punches air and shouts GIRLPOWER!

But I can't see anything good in the slaughter of 5 million babies. We are talking holocaust numbers here.

A previous poster mentioned Brave New World. I often feel like like John Savage.

Every now and again I'll read or see or experience something that makes me feel utterly alienated from mainstream opinion and belief in this shiny spangly netconnected wonder world that is UK 2009.

Laban said...

This is one of my recurring themes. There's a huge bulge in the population of 40-60 year olds - the Baby Boomers born in the fertility boom of 1950-70, but who didn't have many kids themselves. The Pill (late 60s), abortion (late 60s, now running at 200,000 a year compared to 600,000 live births) and that whole Cultural Revolution "we don't need no piece of paper from the City Hall" thing. Adolescence expanded from ages 14-20 to 14-44. As fertility declined, bastardy boomed - just not enough to counteract the decline in fertility.

The two-earner trap for houses didn't help either - the only way you could afford a house big enough to raise children in was not to have any.

In the UK it's always Mr and Mrs Average who get squeezed on the kids front. The wealthy and the tax-funded underclass can have as many as they like, but a couple on average wages pretty much have to keep two incomes coming in to pay the mortgage. And it is the devil's own job raising kids in any quantity when you're both working full time, quite apart from the question of whether a mother who spends more waking hours at work than with her children can be said to be 'raising' them at all.

Read Steve Sailer on Affordable Family Formation.

By the way, not everyone's stopped having kids. 23% of primary school pupils in England and Wales are ethnic minority.

APL said...

John Savage: "That is the saddest thing have read today and has made me feel quite depressed."

The figure I picked from the back of my mind from something I had heard a year or two ago. I began to worry if it was correct. I know Alice is a stickler for facts. You can trip over to here:

and get the government figures yourself. Turns out the figure 'till end of 2008 is 5,877,233. Basically totaled the 'resident' column E in the handy excel sheet you can download from that site.

Warning: There are more statistics than you can shake a stick at there, but some of them are a bit stomach churning.

Chemical Ali said...

Surely the obvious answer to your question is simply the arrival of effective birth control. Couples can now choose deliberately not to procreate; whereas pre-1970ish it was rather more pot luck!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we are moving increasingly towards multi-generational housing like in Japan/China.

lilith said...

Male fertility has halved in the last 20 years. 40% of couples seeking IVF do so because the chap has few swimmers.

You going to blame feminists for that too? It is almost impossible to have children and not need any kind of benefit, such as the ludicrous tax credit, to maintain even a modest household these days.

APL said...

Lilith: "Male fertility has halved in the last 20 years ..... You going to blame feminists for that too?"

I can remember articles about there being too much estrogen in the water a decade or so ago. Could it all be a feminist plot?

Some Soya protein are thought to mimic estrogen. So all you guys on a Soya diet, cut it out for the sake of your 'swimmers' !?

Anonymous said...

Abortion and feminism account for most of these numbers. The fact that the smarter, better-educated women are not having children tells us something about the next generation, does it not?

But isn't it sad that people seem to see having children as something with a financial cost that they should worry about?

Also, in passing, note that there is no fertility shortfall in the Muslim population. This tells us something else about the next generation; if those feminists want their grand-daughters to be able to leave the house without male relatives chaperoning them, well they know what they have to do. I don't see much sign of it.

aitortxu said...

Aah Alice!
Fertility rate should respond to:
-blokes and ladies to booze less, slim down and eat more mediterranean
-ladies to be encouraged to stay at home with the babe: subsides to mum.. ?and the employer as well.
-free highly professional nurseries for absolutly everyone.
-if you have 3 or more kids then tax relief.
-cheap afordable housing
-re abortion: it's a necessary evil but many abortions happen due to lack of education (sex education) so what are we going to do?...

K T Cat said...

Having children indicates maturity and selflessness. Deficit spending is an indication of a severe lack of both.

Anonymous said...

lilith: "You going to blame feminists for that too? "

Anon @ 10.49: "Also, in passing, note that there is no fertility shortfall in the Muslim population."

The rise of feminism hasn't impinged on the Islamic world at all.

One of the characteristics of masculinity is I think aggression. Male aggression is I think it fair to say, given free range in the Islamic world.

On the other hand the feminization of the West is perhaps having an unexpected impact on Western Males.

Perhaps that may account for the poor little swimmers?

Just saying is all!