Babies vs. Patio Heaters

So…  Having a third child is “worse than having a patio heater“, is it?  In an age when this country’s birthrate is dropping rapidly and where the under eighteens are outnumbered by the over sixties for the first time it seems to be to be highly disingenuous to suggest that population growth is a problem in the UK.  In fact, much opinion suggests that exactly the opposite is the case.

Not only are many couples opting to have either no children or only one child, we are also having our children much later in life.  These two factors combine to cause a genuine risk of Britain not even achieving the “lowest low” (a birthrate of ~1.3, where population halves in 45 years and the decline becomes unrecoverable) let alone the “replacement rate” of 2.1. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain and Greece are already below 1.3, while the UK is at 1.65 and falling.

I may be biased (Claire is expecting our third child in January), but I can’t help feeling that a country at least maintaining its replacement rate can’t be anything but healthy.  I can’t even persuade myself that this is controversial view, surely?

This article on the topic of birthrate at the New York Times is long (10 pages), but well worth the read if you’ve got 5 minutes.

5 thoughts on “Babies vs. Patio Heaters”

  1. But Andy, you’re having a third baby AND you’ve got a patio heater, a fact that you fail to mention!!

  2. Well yes. That patio heater is a rather un eco friendly blot on my otherwise impeccably green credentials 😉 I think, however, that you may be missing my point…

  3. We don’t care about the point, we just wanted to point out that you own a patio heater 🙂

  4. The UK population is actually increasing at a faster rate now than it has for ages – but that’s no reason not to have kids *individually*. It maybe should affect government subsidies for children, and other incentivisation schemes, but just like all these gross statistical measures it’s no reason to alter individual behaviour.

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