Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalPlummeting Fertility Rate Requires Urgent Debate

Plummeting Fertility Rate Requires Urgent Debate

New Zealand’s fertility
has reached an all-time low, with an average of
1.60 births per woman in the year ending March 2021, well
below the population replacement level of 2.1 required.
Statistics NZ also says that there does not appear to have
been an increase in births as a result of the COVID-19
lockdown during the first half of 2020.

“This should
be sounding alarm bells for politicians and policymakers in
New Zealand. With a declining fertility rate comes a
reliance on migration to provide for an aging population –
but all countries around the world will be competing for
that migration, because most countries are facing the same
dilemma. We need a younger population to provide a workforce
for economic growth. An aging population will also place a
burden on the economy through increasing health care, aged
care, and other fiscal costs such as the government
pension,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family
First New Zealand.

And it’s not just an issue for
New Zealand. According to a report
by Dutch researchers
last year, the 1950s
below-replacement fertility was virtually non-existent,
whereas for the period 2010–2015 the fertility rate was
below 2.1 children in approximately 40% of the

Researchers at the University of
Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, published
in the Lancet
last year, predicts that the worldwide
fertility rate will fall below 1.7 by 2100. 183 out of 195
countries are predicted to have a fertility rate below the
replacement level. That means that the number of under-fives
will fall from 681 million in 2017 to 401 million in 2100,
but the number of over 80-year-olds will soar from 141
million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100.

Mitchell, author of Families:
Ever Fewer or No Children
, How Worried Should We
“ – a recent report from Family First NZ – says
“Without population replacement or growth, economies
decline. A nation’s strength lies in its young: their
energy, innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship. The
new blood drives the exchange of ideas and experimentation.
If these attributes aren’t home-grown, they have to be
imported. At an individual level, single person households
are the fastest growing household type in New Zealand.
Increasingly people face old-age with few or no family

“Whether the solution is financial
incentives, enhanced maternity and paternity leave, free
childcare, employment rights, or simply migration through
open borders, New Zealand needs to be having this
discussion. We need to ask whether kiwi families are
delaying or not having children, what factors this is based
on, and whether their decision is based on the most accurate
information available. The future of our country depends on
it,” says Mr

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