On April 19, Statistics Canada revealed that the 2002 birth rate in Canada fell for the 11th time in 12 years and that the fertility rate – 1.5 children per woman of child-bearing age (15-49) – is one quarter under the replacement level of 2.1.
The birthrate of 10.5 live births per 1,000 population is the lowest since statistics keeping track of such things began in 1921. In the last 10 years, the birth rate has fallen 25.4 per cent. In total, 328,802 babies were born in 2002.
Were it not for immigration, Canada’s population would be declining. The media reported that these facts – a reality that has a tremendous and dangerous effects on the economy – are the result of lifestyle changes, including the availability of contraceptives. But it is not merely the “revenge of the pill,” as the National Post put it. The recent release of abortion statistics reveals that about 106,000 babies were killed by abortion – that is, one in four pregnancies ends in abortion. We are, quite literally, killing our future.
A study by Standard and Poor’s released in March found that low fertility rates and aging populations in the industrialized world will lead to unmanageable debt levels. Richard Jackson, senior fellow in charge of the demography project at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, described the effects of depopulation on the economic future as leading to nothing short of a meltdown. The British news weekly The Economist and the Canadian business-friendly daily Globe and Mail have repeatedly returned to the theme of the dangers depopulation has on the welfare state – with a shortage in workers (taxpayers) and a growing elderly population that will incur growing healthcare costs and receive their pensions, Canada and most of Europe face a bleak economic future.
But both publications trot out more immigration as the only solution to the problem. They – like our governments – are blind to the clearest solution: encourage families to have more children. Or, at the very least, stop discouraging them from having any. Laws that permit abortion on demand and easy contraception, and taxation policies that encourage parents to work rather than raise families, must be changed. Refusing to change the course we are on literally jeopardizes our future.