The Birth Rate Collapse
The Biggest Challenge of the 21st Century

We've been warning about it for years. American Life League's Bob Sassone produced a Handbook on Population that talked about the dire consequences of the actions of the population controllers around the world. Our friend, Steve Mosher at the Population Research Institute, has been aggressively fighting funding of these groups.

Yet, nobody listened.

Now the effects of half a century of population control activities are becoming apparent, and the news is not good.

The effects have been documented, not by a pro-life group whose bias can be questioned by the media, but by a man who is generally recognized as the foremost thinker on management techniques. His name is Peter F. Drucker, and he has been recognized as a management expert for the last 50 years.

Drucker recently released Management Challenges for the 21st Century, his 31st book. This seems like an unlikely book for pro-lifers to be able to use to support their fight, but it is just because of this fact that the book is so valuable.

In the book, Drucker is telling the management of corporations what issues they must deal with as we move into the next century. Drucker states in the introduction: "This is not a book of predictions, not a book about the future. The challenges and issues discussed in it are already with us in every one of the developed countries and in most of the emerging ones. They can already be identified, discussed, analyzed and prescribed for. Some people, someplace are already working on them. But so far, very few organizations do, and very few executives. Those who do work on these challenges today, and thus prepare themselves and their institutions for the new challenges, will be the leaders and dominate tomorrow. Those who wait until these challenges have indeed become 'hot' issues are likely to fall behind, perhaps never to recover." We are not going to discuss all of the challenges that Drucker identifies. You may get a copy of his book to do that. But we will tell you the number one challenge he identified. In fact, let's give you that challenge in Drucker's own words:

"The most important single new certainty-if only because there is no precedent for it in all of history-is the collapsing birthrate in the developed world."

Drucker identifies as the single most important business factor of the next century exactly what Bob Sassone, Steve Mosher, Judie Brown, Jim Sedlak and others have been warning about for the last 20 years. We've always asked the question "If we kill all our children, where will the consumers of the future come from?" Now the corporate world is beginning to wake up, and they do not like the answer.

Drucker outlines the problems in seven pages at the beginning of his book, and then carries the thread throughout the work. He describes how Japan and all of Southern Europe are "drifting toward collective national suicide by the end of the 21st century." He cites statistics to back up his contention and then observes that the United States is not far behind the other dying nations. He gives us another twenty to twenty-five years and then points out that our population will begin to seriously decline.

Now Drucker is observing a fact. He does not try to explain what brought about the birthrate collapse nor what we can do to have more children. He is simply relating the realities of the world that business managers must deal with. But we want to do what Drucker has not done. We want to talk a bit about how we got where we are and what we need to do to change things. And we do need to change. As I heard once at a management meeting: "If you always do the things you've done, then you'll always be where you've been."

Before we get into that discussion, I want to assure you that Peter Drucker is not alone in his observations. Many people are beginning to recognize the problems we are in because of the lack of children being born.

USA Today

USA Today ran an item on April 12, 1999, which reported that "Lower Birthrate Drains Labor Pool." This article states that "from 1996 to 2006, the percentage of workers 25-34 will shrink nine percent, and those 35-44 will slip three percent." This is not the first time this paper has noted the problems caused by a lack of people in the work force; it is just the most recent.

Entrepreneurs

A year ago, the mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, was on television commercials on the East Coast of the United States asking skilled workers to move to his area. He even set up a phone line in his office for people to call because there were not enough workers in the area to fill the job openings.

An amusement park operator near Richmond, Virginia, hires close to a thousand young people every summer to help run the park. This year he told some area politicians that he had to go to Europe to hire about 25% of his work force because there were not enough applicants locally.

Internet

Toni Horst, Ph.D., wrote an article on April 19, 1999 that points out that "women are having fewer children" and that "in 61 countries, fertility (birth) rates are at or below replacement level." The article then goes on to cite some of the economic impacts of this low birthrate. It points out, for example, that "at present, working taxpayers outnumber retirees in the developed world by 3 to 1," adding that "this ratio drops to 1.5 to 1 by 2030. In some countries like Italy, it drops to 1 to 1 and even below."

Drucker made these same observations and predicts that the age of retirement will most likely rise from today's 60-65 to 79 during the next century.

United Nations

Another source of specific information on the world population shortage is the United Nations. In October 1998, the UN issued its 1998 Revision of World Population Estimates and Projections. In that report, the UN stated that 61 countries now have a below-replacement birth rate. This is an increase of 20 percent in just two years.

To illustrate the impact of this declining birthrate, the UN documented that the median age of the world population (i.e. half the people are above the median age and half the people are below it) in 1950 was 23.5 years. The median age has increased modestly to 26.1 years in 1998. However, the UN currently predicts that, by the year 2050, the median age will be 37.8 years worldwide, and 47.4 years in Europe!

Can you imagine the collapse of all the social systems as we know them today as our young people are steadily killed and our elderly find that, in order to solve the problems caused by the aging population, they are more and more pressured to end their lives?

U.S. News & World Report

On March 1, 1999, the U.S. News & World Report did a major story that was titled: "How Global Aging Will Challenge the World's Economic Well Being."

This article is rife with statistics that illustrate the major population problems that the world faces. Some of the statistics presented in the article are:

  • In the year 2000, for the first time, people over 60 will outnumber kids 14 or younger in industrial countries.
  • By the year 2050, people over 60 will comprise 32.5% of the population in industrialized countries while kids 14 and under will makeup only 15.3%.
  • By 2050, even in developing countries, people over 60 will outnumber kids 20.6% to 20.3%.
  • Asia is aging rapidly. Japan, for example, will suffer a 25 percent decline over the next decade in the number of workers under 30.
  • Paying for the health care costs of the elderly, according to official projections, would require increasing the total tax burden on workers by an equivalent of 25 to 40 percent. The alternative is to cut benefits.
  • As the trends become more visible, middle-age people will save a higher percentage of their income and this will have a negative impact on consumer demand for non-essential goods.
  • Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria have birth rates of 1.2 children per family or less. (It takes 2.1 children per family to replace the population.)

Conclusion

Peter F. Drucker concluded the section of his book dealing with the collapsing birthrate with the following statement:

The birthrate collapse has tremendous political and social implications that we cannot even guess at today. But it surely will also have tremendous economic and business implications . . . Above all, any strategy . . . has to start out with demographics and, above all, with the collapsing birthrate in the developed world. Of all developments, it is the most spectacular, the most unexpected and one that has no precedent whatsoever.

While we concur that the collapsing birthrates are spectacular and without precedent, it should not be a surprise. We've been warning for years that this would happen. It seems no one was listening.

The Abortion Connection

It may seem obvious that the declining birthrate and all the subsequent economic problems are directly attributable to abortion. But none of the articles cited herein even mentioned abortion.

It seems that the same people who refused to listen to us for 20 years and are now surprised by the results, still do not understand.

How can you kill 1.5 million babies through surgical abortion in the United States every year and believe that you will not eventually have the problem of too few young people?

When you add to that the fact that approximately 50 million babies are killed in the world every year by surgical abortion, it becomes clear that the problems discussed by Drucker and others are inevitable.

Then you multiply these numbers by 26 years of legalized murder through abortion, you realize that we have lost 1.3 billion young people from our world. If these babies had been born, we would have a large number of young people driving the consumer market. We could plan on an expanding number of young people entering our work force, buying houses and cars and contributing to a growing world economy.

Abortion Is Not a Private Decision

Perhaps the most obvious outcome of all the emerging population numbers is that it puts a lie to one of the most frequent claims of those who say they are "pro-choice."

These people say that abortion is a private decision between a woman and her abortionist. They claim that the decision does not affect anyone else and the rest of us should just keep our noses out of their business.

Now, after 26 years of legalized abortion, we see that this is simply not true. The decision to have an abortion affects the entire society. Because of the population shifts brought about by 26 years of legalized abortion in the United States and almost a century of pushing family planning programs around the globe, the impact on each person's daily life is clear:

  • We each pay more money in Social Security each week than we would have to otherwise. The Packard Foundation last year gave $300,000 to a group lobbying for legalized abortion in Brazil. Yet, the U.S. News & World Report article cited earlier states that Brazil "is currently undergoing a financial meltdown so perilous it periodically scorches Wall Street." The USN&WR article goes on to observe that "Brazil has seen a dramatic decline in its fertility rate over the last generation. In 1960, a Brazilian woman on average had more than six children over her lifetime; today, her counterpart has just 2.3 children. As a result, in a land once known for its celebration of dental-floss bikinis and youthful carnival exuberance, pension debt has become the public's central preoccupation. The problem is so critical that a recent report by the Ministry of Health concludes that aging of the population is now the nation's most important challenge and that, if the government doesn't take urgent action, we may be faced in the coming years with the problem of street elders."
  • We pay more in income tax each year, both at the federal and state level. With less people in the work force and an aging population, we have fewer and fewer working taxpayers to contribute the funds to run the government. Thus the contribution from each individual is higher today than it would have been had 38 million babies not been aborted in the United States.
  • Our health care costs are rising and our insurance costs are higher than they need to be. It is perfectly clear that health care costs are higher for the elderly than they are for the young. The elderly get sick more often, incur injuries more frequently, and take longer to recover. As the population ages, it is inevitable that our health care costs will rise. The only way to balance things out is for there to be more young people paying for health insurance to offset the costs of the elderly.

It is clear from even a cursory look at the affects of abortion that it is not now, nor has it ever been a private decision that only affects the woman and her child. Legalized abortion has affected the moral climate of our nation and now is affecting the pocketbook of every American citizen.

What to Do With This Information

There is a temptation to rush out with the information presented in the last few pages and expect that everyone will immediately see the light and change the laws on abortion. Dr. Bernard Nathanson expected just such a result when he produced the "Silent Scream."

But we all know that that video, as powerful as it was, was not enough to change the minds of those that are adamantly pro-abortion. It didn't even have the expected impact on middle-of-the-road people.

Although the evidence on the shrinking world population, and the effect that it will have on the economy, is mounting, we must be prepared to launch a long-term education effort. We suggest you start with the schools. During my recent speaking tours, I told many high school students about the under-population crisis and the need for larger families. I found the young people to be eager to learn the facts. They clearly grasped the enormity of the problem and were concerned.

But educating young students is just a start. You should educate yourself on the issue (buy some of the books mentioned in this report) and then educate the media, elected officials and the general public. It will most likely take a few years before what we know today is widely accepted, but it will never happen unless all pro-lifers are willing to spend the time to learn the facts and then share those facts with others. Remember, "what you have heard in secret, shout from the rooftops."

We have before us a real opportunity to change the abortion discussion and, in addition to all the moral reasons why abortion is wrong, present the American public and the world with economic reasons to oppose the heinous killing of our babies. Please do everything in your power to expose the truth in September and October this year.


For additional views of the birth dearth, see:

Too Many People? by Dr. Jacqueline R. Kasun (published in Envoy Magazine)

The Population Surprise by Max Singer (published in The Atlantic Monthly).