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Each Person Matters To A Nation


By Maria L. Santos - Posted on 16 June 2015

I like to watch Global Public Square  (GPS) with Fareed Zakaria on CNN.  This week, he ran a story on demographics and how countries like Denmark have television advertising campaigns encouraging couples to take vacations abroad and conceive a baby while away—for the good of the nation! Apparently, the government of Denmark has statistics that show that many children born in Denmark are conceived while couples are on vacation outside of Denmark. 

In general, Western Europeans are not having children.  In Portugal, hospital maternity wards are closing.  Europe is aging.  Why?  There are many reasons, but you guessed it:  Babies are expensive.  Babies are a lot of work.  Babies are a deep commitment to another individual’s wellbeing and future. France was another example discussed on GPS.  France, among other European countries, has had success offering citizens monetary incentives to have children. They offer government-paid or subsidized pre-school for children from age of 2 onward in addition to incredible maternity and paternity leave during the first two years of the child’s life.  

And this is not just a European concern. Japan takes robotics very seriously because their population is aging and their birth rate is also very low. One day a robot may be their only means of filling repetitive, lower-skilled jobs in many sectors, including healthcare.

These countries know that the low birth rate is a threat to their national economies and way of life. Cultures and languages would eventually die out if new generations of children aren’t conceived, born and raised within them.  There would be no workers.  There would be no tax base.  There would be fewer and fewer contributors to the health and social security systems of the countries.  The impact will be immense.

The USA does not have this problem right now and is unlikely to have the problem for many years to come.  We are still growing as a nation.  No, it is not because the birth rate is much higher here than in Europe.  It is because of immigration!  Many of the families who immigrate to the USA are young people of childbearing age. 

Believe it or not, the USA is still a nation of immigrants and we are still a welcoming nation most of the time.   But there are some folks in the USA who want to do away with birth right citizenship. They claim that pregnant women come to visit and stay for the birth of the child and then return to their home country.  This secures US citizenship and a US passport for the baby.  While some people here see this as undesirable, Denmark is actually encouraging foreign conception and domestic birth.

Population matters. The rest of the world is not a like the USA. We are fortunate that people still want to live here and have their children here. But people do not want to live where they are not welcome.  Immigration is a choice. We should carefully consider whether we want to discourage the only thing that is keeping this country from having to resort to the desperate measures we can see European and other countries being forced to take for their own survival.