A while back we did a piece on how the United States, like all the nations of the Western World, needs immigrants, and more of them. (See We Need Immigrants…NOW). Developed, post-industrial nations are strikingly infertile. Quite simply, highly educated, high earning, career-oriented women have a lot more interesting things to do than change diapers. So, they either don’t have children at all, or have relatively few of them.
Which is fine, except that eventually you end up with a population in which there are more aged people than young people. How do you, then, take care of all those older folks when you have, say, four or five people in their eighties for every one person in their twenties?
Think that’s an exaggeration? Nope. If anything, it is an understatement. Check out Linda Carroll and Shamard Charles, M.D.’s recent article on the NBC News site, Americans aren’t making enough babies to replace ourselves. It confirms all the above, and a bit more.
So the United States has a choice. Either we do more to attract more, not fewer immigrants; or we figure out some way of giving Americans (particularly, but not exclusively American women) more time and money to have and raise of children; or we figure out some brutal but effective way of getting rid of our senior citizens.
Given the nature of our leadership — for whom anything like, say, a living wage is heresy, not to mention maternity or paternity leave — we’re guessing number three is the one we’re going to take.