BBC’s new lifestyle and employment satisfaction vertical Worklife has published a new feature using research developed by IEP. The feature, entitled ‘Is Parenting Scarier Than Ever’ looks at the alarming and precipitous decline in the global birth rate, and what some are calling the start of a ‘demographic winter.’

The article looks at the current birth data and mentions Europe where no countries are achieving ‘rate of replacement’ saying:

‘The global birth rate is falling. That’s not necessarily news; it’s been on the decline since 1950, according to data collected by Washington, DC-based non-profit Population Reference Bureau. But the decline in the global birth rate in more recent years has been especially stark: in 2021, the global fertility rate is 2.3 births per woman; in 1990, it was 3.2. A new Pew Research Center survey found that a growing percentage of childless US adults ages 18 to 49 intend to remain that way. In every single European nation, fertility in 2021 was below the 2.1 births per woman generally considered the “rate of replacement” for a population. In a number of those countries, birth rates hit record lows.’

The article identifies a number of economic and employment factors, including the loss of some types of work like manufacturing, and the rise of gig and shirt work: work that doesn’t guarantee certain ongoing  employment nor affords the worker family benefits.

The ballooning price of housing was also identified as a factor, and also political and civil unrest which the Global Peace Index had shown that has more than doubled in the world over the past decade.

The article also cites the significant spike in unrest last year, as recorded in the Global Peace Index 2020.

‘Forty years of data across nations that experienced civil conflict shows fertility rates typically fall by up to one-third during periods of instability. People have fewer children when they’re terrified by what their progeny might have to contend with,’ the piece reads.

To real the full BBC Worklife feature, click here.


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