In the midst of a climate crisis with 8 billion humans on the globe, it’s absurd to say that what’s lacking is babies
Fertility rates are falling across the globe – even in places, such as sub-Saharan Africa, where they remain high. This is good for women, families, societies and the environment. So why do we keep hearing that the world needs babies, with angst in the media about maternity wards closing in Italy and ghost cities in China?
The short-range answer is that, even though this slowdown was predicted as part of the now 250-year-old demographic transition – whose signature is the tumbling of both fertility and mortality rates – occasional happenings, such as the publication of US census data or China’s decision to relax its two-child policy, force it back into our consciousness, arousing fears about family lines rubbed out and diminishing superpowers being uninvited from the top table.