‘Let’s make it easier for people to have babies’

The global fertility rate has halved over the last 50 years.

The global fertility rate or the number of children per woman may have reportedly halved over the last 50 years for various reasons, from overpopulation, women empowerment to climate change. Writer Wajahat Ali, who also calls himself an "exhausted dad", however, shared how this may lead to problems and why it is important to make it easier for people to have babies, in a TED Talk recently.

While acknowledging that having babies is a matter of personal choice while some may be unable to reproduce, Ali urged his audience to examine the "flip side of the coin". "According to the World Health Organisation, we need to average about 2.1 children per woman today just so we have enough people to replace the previous generation…So a question: what happens if that number dips below 2.1? There’s going to be a domino effect. As all of us get older, and live longer, there’s going to be a shrinking younger population, which is going to lead to rising labor shortages in the world’s biggest economies.," he explained.

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Ali added, "Less tax revenue means less money and resources to go to safety net programs that all of us are going to depend upon. I’m talking about pensions and health care. It seems every generation is indeed connected." The writer also drew attention to China’s one-child policy saying, "If trends continue, China’s population is actually going to peak in 2029, before entering "unstoppable decline." China’s government is so freaked out right now that it’s actually doing new propaganda — it’s begging couples to have children for the country."

Ali also highlighted examples from other countries like Japan, Hungary and Russia. Talking about India, he added, "In India, this has been fantastic, it has actually reduced the birth rate but kept it above that magic 2.1 number. Women also have more access to birth control, more control over their reproductive lives, all good things."

The TV producer finally suggested, "Let’s make it easier for people to have babies. It seems in order to invest in our future, we actually have to invest in the present and help those people who want to become parents…Babies have always represented humanity’s best, boldest, most beautiful infinite possibilities."

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