America's crown is slipping. We need to re-prioritise the family

We live in turbulent times. Global fertility has fallen over 50 percent in 50 years. Unprecedented. Sperm counts have fallen at a comparable rate, also unprecedented. For the first time ever, world population is projected to decline, beginning as early as 2061.

Globally, things quickly became multipolar. Periods when geopolitical power fluctuates are notoriously unstable. Today is no exception. Ukraine, the Sahel, the Middle East and the South China Sea are all flashpoints where the specters of death and chaos loom large. Where are those old-fashioned “isolationists” when we need them?

Last time in this space, the focus was on East Asia’s demographic implosion. Western analysts, with furrowed brow, tell us how dire East Asia’s plight is. But look at the United States. Despite a diminishing empire, American triumphalism is alive and well in the homeland. We’re being misled. We should instead focus on helping the American family.

Superpower conundrum

Just this month, Foreign Policy posted, “The United States Has a Keen Demographic Edge: Competitors of the United States face plunging birthrates and social gloom.”

The United States’ total fertility rate has fallen from a robust average of 2.12 births per woman in 2007 to less than 1.7 births per woman today… falling birthrates represent a looming social and economic drag on U.S. prosperity.

This discourse, however, misses key context — namely, that the demographic situations in China, Russia, and the European Union are an order of magnitude worse. Far from being a drag, the United States’ relatively strong demographic hand endows it with a key advantage in an age of great-power competition with China and Russia.

“Keen demographic edge?” “Strong demographic hand?” Here is Foreign Policy, the chattering class go-to imperial rag, saying: Yes, we’ve got problems, but China’s are an “order of magnitude” worse. That’s like a business that lost $100k last year crowing because their competitor lost $200k. Translation: We’re not doing well, but they are doing worse. That’s not exactly bragging rights.

Foreign Policy doesn’t let up:

There are… 216 million Chinese citizens in their 50s but just 181 million citizens in their 20s, meaning that the population is all but destined to fall.

[This]… condemn[s] the country to continued demographic decline for the foreseeable future.

Russia’s population also promises to plummet.

Crowing about problems plaguing Russia and China is a distraction. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a family-friendly Foreign Policy pushing pro-family initiatives?  Strengthening the family would strengthen the country, thereby enabling that muscular globalist foreign policy so favoured by the journal. At the very least, it would mean more cannon fodder for the empire’s endless wars.

The United States will still have to contend with the numerous threats posed by Russia and China. Their falling populations, however, will make the job much easier.

What job?

Wishful thinking, I’m afraid.

Another view

The Economist has a slightly different take: “America is uniquely ill-suited to handle a falling population: Which is a worry, because much of it is already shrinking.” Seems to me that most places are “ill-suited” for falling population.


Join Mercator today for free and get our latest news and analysis

Buck internet censorship and get the news you may not get anywhere else, delivered right to your inbox. It's free and your info is safe with us, we will never share or sell your personal data.

The article begins in Cairo (KAY-roe), Illinois, a dying community situated at the southern tip of the state:

Cairo is on its way to becoming America’s newest ghost town. Its population, having peaked above 15,000 in the 1920s, had fallen to just 1,700 people by the 2020 census.  

Cairo is not alone.

Between 2010 and 2020, over half of the country’s counties, home to a quarter of Americans, lost population... Over the coming decades still more will... The change will be wrenching,

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of people in the country grew by around 7.4%... the slowest decade of growth since the Great Depression… The main culprit is falling birth rates. The total fertility rate… in 2008… fell below 2.1, and has since declined to 1.67

Flyover country is depopulating. People have always moved to the big city, but with the birth dearth, they are not replaced.

Between 2010 and 2020, just two states lost population: Mississippi and West Virginia. The population of Illinois was essentially unchanged. All the rest grew. But in 2021, 17 out of 50 shrank.

When cities contract, infrastructure costs don’t. Smaller populations pay higher taxes. Declining public services tank local economies, so more move away. Municipal pension funds suffer. This is the “demographic death spiral.” Not a pretty picture. It’s a problem throughout America.

There are efforts to counter this trend. In 2021, the City of Muncie, Indiana, began offering a $5,000 grant for remote workers to move there.

If America’s population does not grow faster, far more places will begin to die. The politics of that will be ugly. Of the counties that lost population in the decade to 2020, 90% voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

The folks at The Economist can’t make it through the day without a shot at President Trump:

The worse things get, the more votes Mr. Trump will win. 

Tax credits

Arizona broadcaster and US Senate hopeful Kari Lake calls for increased child tax credits. She warns:

Right now, we have unsustainable U.S. birth rates, and that is going to destabilize our future growth. We’ve got to bring our birth rates up, and I think that we need to incentivize and make it easier for people to have families.

Lake says falling fertility in Europe is a source of “turmoil,” which is “what happens when you don’t have babies of your own, and you have a wholesale import of a new population.”

The entire West has opted for the turmoil, importing a new population at breakneck speed. By 2030, Whites will be a minority in the US, where massive numbers from the Global South have arrived in recent decades. Social cohesion is gone, labor that wasn’t outsourced remains cheap labor, while the Empire blithely chugs along. 

Social compact

The Week, boasting more than a half million subscribers, posted “Why does the US fertility rate keep dropping? Women are less eager to have children.”

"For the first time in our nation's history, a 30-year-old man or woman isn't doing as well as his or her parents were at 30. That is the social compact breaking down," Scott Galloway, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, said in an interview with Fortune.

In addition, "Millennials and Gen Zers face sky-high mortgage rates, soaring home prices and inflation, and it's slowing some traditional, or otherwise historic, milestones like having a child," Fortune said.

"While countries including France and China have taken measures to try to encourage couples to have children, U.S. birth rates have been stifled by forces like lack of paid family leave and skyrocketing health costs,” Time said.

The Lancet’s recent (March 2024) study projects that of 204 countries, just six will not have population decline by 2100. Study co-author Natalia V Bhattacharjee told Al Jazeera:

"These future trends in fertility rates and live births will completely reconfigure the global economy and the international balance of power and will necessitate reorganizing societies." 

Glad to see mainstream media reporting on America’s deteriorating demographics. While the US is not alone, consider: China and Russia do not have anything comparable to America’s massive welfare class, nor do they have hundreds of high-tech military bases worldwide to support. America’s multicultural turmoil fuels identity politics and racial resentment, which is orders of magnitude greater than that of the other superpowers.

Here’s a radical idea: reorder national priorities. Instead of blowing money around the world in empire-building wars and foreign aid schemes of no benefit to the American people, let’s redirect those resources to family-friendly policies. The US lags way behind in this, and we should act before the birth dearth overwhelms us.

Charity begins at home.

Can the US course-correct, or is it too late to reverse the demographic slide? Discuss in the comments section below.

Louis T. March has a background in government, business, and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author, and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Image credit: DepositPhotos


Showing 7 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • mrscracker
    I hear those sorts of comments from women too, Miss Elva. Yes, it’s very sad. I have an acquaintance with 2 unmarried daughters in their late 30’s. One lived with a boyfriend for years & years until he dumped her. Now she’s close to the end of her childbearing years with no marriage, no children, nor prospects for marriage. Her ex-boyfriend can take up with a younger woman & father children if he chooses to. His fertility hasn’t the same kind of expiration date as a woman’s does.
  • Steven Meyer
    commented 2024-05-30 17:03:40 +1000
    You say,

    “Instead of blowing money around the world in empire-building wars and foreign aid schemes of no benefit to the American people, let’s redirect those resources to family-friendly policies.”

    How exactly would these resources be deployed?

    Specifically, what would you do?

    You say, “The US lags way behind in this”.

    But all those other “family friendly” countries -eg Sweden – also have below replacement fertility.

    Most of the drop in fertility is due to the growing number of women having zero children. How do you plan to persuade them to have at least one child?

    Can anyone name any developed country that has managed to raise its fertility rate to even near replacement after a long period below replacement?

    Consider that you may be panicking for nothing. By definition women with zero children make no contribution to the future gene pool.

    To the extent that a propensity to have children is, at least partially linked to genes, expect fertility rates to rise in the future.

    I doubt we’ll go extinct because we don’t make enough babies to keep the species going.
  • Elva Kindler
    commented 2024-05-30 01:49:08 +1000
    Yes, maybe. I hear both sides from the women I talk to. But I hear more often women wistfully say that they wish they could (I.e., gain permission from somewhere—society, husband, etc.) have more children and stay home with them.
  • mrscracker
    Miss Elva, a great part of falling US birthrates relate to women putting off marriage & childbearing until their fertility’s begun to decline. A higher priority’s given to investing in education & career.
    Certainly, deprioritizing marriage & family isn’t just something unique to women. Social trends & what we give status to are a group effort, but women waiting too long to begin families are the largest biological factor in this issue.
  • Elva Kindler
    commented 2024-05-29 19:58:05 +1000
    That’s it! I have to have my say:) Why are articles everywhere blaming women for not wanting to have babies? Doesn’t the man in the relationship, who is bigger, stronger, and has a deeper, more commanding voice, have at least an equal say in when the woman come on or off contraceptives, has abortions, or is allowed to leave the workforce? Wouldn’t a woman who feels that she is important to her partner be willing to have children, especially if he marries her, protects her, and doesn’t care if she leaves the workforce?
  • mrscracker
    “The folks at The Economist can’t make it through the day without a shot at President Trump: The worse things get, the more votes Mr. Trump will win. "
    I’m not generally a fan of The Economist but to be fair I think they got this point about the election right.

    There really are Rust Belt communities on the skids. That’s been going on for decades. What they miss is the more recent pattern of people moving away from cities to more affordable small towns & rural areas. Remote work has made that more possible.
  • Michael Cook
    followed this page 2024-05-25 11:11:09 +1000