There is currently a close link observed between economic growth and a countries birthrate. However in a world with a massive population and ongoing environmental problems linked closely to difficulties in providing food, water and amenities to such large populations, should we not be asking the questions:
- In a world of finite resources, is there not a limit to economic economic growth?
- In this current climate should sustainability be of more importance than economic growth?
Birthrates have fallen in many developed countries as a result of improved education, health care, and access to contraception. As it stands the countries with the worst sanitation, access to food and water, access to healthcare and education are the countries with the highest birth rates. In many developing countries birthrates are higher in correlation with infant mortality rates. Child labour can also be a natural fact of life in rural populations making higher birthrates particularly beneficial to these communities. But moving forward, as some of these countries become more “developed”, an important question also arrises: Do we not wish for the development of adequate education, health care and contraception in these countries also? If this were the case these populations would have less children out of necessity or as an accident, conception could become more of a choice, and naturally their birth rate would decline just as it has in developed nations.
So as developed countries will progress further with advances in technology, especially AI, it is likely that this old link between a societies economy and birthrate will become less relevant economically also. Is the declining birthrate not just a sign of development, a natural shift in an overpopulated society, a shift towards population stability? With this in mind, maybe less should be done regarding birthrate, and more should be done about advancing technology, sustainability and aiding the progression of less economically developed countries.