What Do We Know About Babies in 2012?

Check out some stats in the January 9th edition of Time Magazine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CIA World Fact Book, Demographic Intelligence, Pew Research, SSA, U.N., the U.S. Census and others….

  • 4 million babies will be born in the U.S. in 2012
  • China will add 16 million babies to their population this year
  • A baby girl born in the U.S. today can expect to live to the age of 81.3–until 2093!
  • A baby girl in the U.S. will grow up (on average) to have two babies of her own (2.09 to be precise)
  • A Nigerian girl born this year will give birth to an average of 4.82 children
  • A U.S. baby girl born in 2012 will have a 23% chance her marriage will end in divorce
  • A U.S. baby girl born in  2012 will have a 41% chance that she will not marry
  • There is a good chance this girl will be named Sophie!

Starting from the bottom up, details and reactions:

  • Laura Wattenberg,author of The Baby Name Wizard, projects that this will be the most popular baby girl name this year.
  • On marriage, that’s higher than I thought. Not too long ago Time did an article on marriage, and while many aren’t marrying these days, as I recall they reported most did.
  • Divorce: that seems a better stat that the common percentage thrown around for some time now -50% or one out of two.
  • Work to be done in Nigeria: Clearly better access to birth control!
  • About 2 babies per woman: Continued increases in population mean more women, and more women giving birth even at this low rate compared to most countries still means population explosion!
  • More people living longer will “continue to make a major contribution to world population expansion over the next half century, regardless of whatever progress might be made reducing fertility says Dave Foreman, author of Man Swarm.
  • China–16 million-and that is still with a one child policy–wow.
  • Foreman would say 4 million more babies this year is too many: At 310 million right now, unless we don’t do something right now, the U.S. population will “double in the next hundred years to above 600 million to even more than 800 million!”

Numbers like that make me pause.  Ok, I will no longer be here, but is this the direction I want the world to be going when I do leave it? I think not.

Time did a nice visual to lay out these numbers and more (like Brazil–a Brazilian girl born in 2012 has 25% chance of marrying before age 18; in the U.S. it is now the age of 30 if she has a college education), but even so, like I have felt since traveling to Brazil and Argentina, when it comes to population, I am left feeling, well, disturbed, and motivated to action.

Place to start: Check out the Rewilding Website Population Page, Optimum Population Trust, and get your socks knocked off with Foreman’s Man Swarm.

Who else is concerned about how we are going to pull off stabilizing the world’s population?

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12 thoughts on “What Do We Know About Babies in 2012?

  1. A very belated Happy New Year, Laura! Hope it was a good one. I’m concerned about the population increase too. That being said, I am honestly not sure what can be done about reducing the population size in countries that are dominated by religions that insist that having children is a “must” for all heterosexual couples, especially married ones.

    In the United States, it may be easier, as there are no dominating religions here. One way, although certainly not the ONLY way, might be for you, Sylvia, and other CFers who have written books about the CF choice to consider making them available to middle and high school students for a deep discount. Who knows how many middle and high school students, guys and gals, might be leaning towards the CF choice, but don’t know of any books on the subject that may help them make that choice with no guilt for doing so? The more middle and high students who decide to be CF teens and adults, the fewer the population, I would think.

    Now, I confess I’m not sure exactly how to accomplish this, not being a book marketer myself. But it might be a good question to raise with your publicists and see if it’s a workable idea or not.

    Best wishes for continued safe and fun travels! 🙂

    1. Excellent idea…your thoughts are right in line with what I am writing about in part in my next book–kids need better parenthood education, but even that puts the cart before the horse…first they need to be exposed to the reality that it is a choice in life, and totally ok to not choose parenthood. They need to be educated on how to assess for themselves whether they not only have the desire but the Ability to be a good parent..I could go on but stay tuned for the book that I hope will come out via ebook very soon!

  2. In China, the ‘one-child’ policy has a lot of loopholes and exceptions for all sorts of people. It’s not as tightly enforced as it was in previous generations. For a lot of people it’s actually the ‘one son’ policy — if you have a daughter, you get another shot. Generally, if you have money and influence, you aren’t restricted to one child.

    1. Yes indeed on the “one son” policy — but I did not know that if you have a daughter you get another shot. I thought the way that was rectified was more than likely abortion…

  3. Glad to hear you have a new book coming out soon. I’ll have to place it on my TBO (to be ordered) book list along with Sylvia’s and others. 🙂

    I’ve been thinking more often lately that middle and high school students are the ones that need to be reached early on the “kids or no kids question.” From what I’ve seen, they don’t get nearly enough quality sex education, so they don’t have the facts necessary to protect them, especially girls, from the crushing burdens of teen pregnancy/teen motherhood. There are some organizations like the National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy and StayTeen.org in existence, but the number of teen pregnancies and teen births still remains very high for the U.S.

    Laura, is it just me, or does anyone else think that the current teen pregnancy prevention groups may be missing something, and if so, what it might be? I have some ideas on what it may be, but I’d like to see if you and the regulars here have similar thoughts. That way, we can kick a few ideas around. 🙂

    1. Clearly the programs are missing something, as plenty of teens still get pregnant! I am not real familiar what Exactly is included in these programs, but you have inspired me to look harder. What you think is missing?

  4. Also, in China if both children are only children they can have two children. Which makes sense as you don’t want NEGATIVE growth from a government perspective. Also, the law is only supposed to apply to the ethinic Han Chinese population living in urban areas. Also, if you don’t mind paying out the wazoo for taxes and getting no breaks you can have more kids, its just insanely expensive.

    As for brazil:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/01/06/brazilian_pm_557_how_the_pregnancy_registration_law_violates_the_privacy_of_women.html

    I can’t find the original news article. The gist is that women must now register their pregnancies. ALso, the President pushed it through during the government recess, a measure only intended for emergency legislation. Scares the hell out of me that some psycho politician here in the US will start thinking this is a good idea…

    1. Rachel,thanks for that info. On Brazil I did see that in the news. Its purpose is supposedly to increase assurance that mothers to be get prenatal care they need. Still reeks of too much “big brother” to me, don’t you think~isn’t there another way to increase this kind of assurance? Having just been there, I am here to testify that they are making Plenty of babies. The Time article also says that most (90%) babies born in Brazil are born in urban areas, which seems like it would be easier to set up this kind of access than in more rural areas…

  5. Personally, I think what is missing from these teen pregnancy prevention organizations is an effort to get teens, especially girls, involved in learning a craft and/or a skill that, in addition to their regular academic education, may help them avoid the possible traps of boys and sex. Of course, this craft or skill needs to be something that girls ENJOY doing, otherwise it will become a chore that will quickly be discarded. While a teen pregnancy prevention organization may not be able to offer the facilities for girls to learn crafts and skills, they could at least encourage girls to learn something that they could turn into jobs/careers in the future. Anything that starts the girls thinking about something else besides boys is a start.

    A while ago, I mentioned that I recently learned the craft of jewelry-making, which for me has been tremendous fun. Not only have I made several very nice pieces of costume jewelry to wear, I have discovered I’m not too bad at drawing designs for pieces I haven’t made yet. Both designing and creating jewelry keeps my hands and mind very busy and productive.

    My own experience with a craft has gotten me to thinking that if teen girls could find something creative that they REALLY enjoy doing, they might be more focused on that interest, and avoid those which are potentially destructive. Of course, teen guys can be encouraged to learn new skills too. I’m focused on teen girls right now because they are the ones who lose the most when an unwanted pregnancy happens. That’s MY personal perspective, anyway. 🙂

  6. Actually, Brazil’s birth rate is just below replacement right now, something that’s caught the attention of reporters and demographers. Like women in richer countries, most Brazilian women don’t seem to want to reproduce a la Michelle Duggar (and I suspect many of those who ended up having huge numbers of children in the past may not have had a choice in the matter). Here’s an article on the subject:

    http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/brazil-birth-rate-fertility-population-growth-reproduction-contraception

    1. Yes, that is what I learned as well. I was told by locals that most women want “2” and no more for financial reasons. At least they are thinking about how many children they can afford…!

  7. I think there is also the idea that with fewer children, you can not only spend more money on them but invest more in each child emotionally. Also, I think that the ‘value’ of children has changed over the years. For example, my mother and her three siblings were raised on a farm, and they always helped gather the mint, milk the cows, collect the eggs, etcetera, so although of course my grandparents loved each child for who they were, the children were also an economic asset. Today for most families, children are an economic liability if anything. Now children’s ‘value’ is mainly emotional, not economic. So it really doesn’t make practical sense to have large numbers of children when you can get as much out of one or two.

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