Most of us hope to die in our sleep of old age, after living a long, productive life. And it seems we’ve been successful! More and more people are dying from old age, having had a kid or two and found jobs that work for them.
The problem is that we’re not really producing enough people to replace the ones that are dying. Countries like Singapore and Japan are running a serious risk, with the weights of these nation resting on the ever decreasing numbers of people available. Children are having to step up as carers for their families in an unprecedented way: in many families, one person has to care for four grandparents, their own parents, some aunts/uncles, their partner’s family members and any other dependents that comes their way (children, disabled relatives, etc). This significant stress means that a lot of people don’t have the time to have children, let alone the energy, money or desire.
Healthcare programs have been introduced, but with mixed success. It’s no wonder that Japan is starting to invest in robotics – what other choice will they have as their numbers start to dwindle?
In the UK we’re starting to see a similar dilemma, and it’s interesting to see the socio-economic factors involved. The women you would generally view as successful (well educated, good job, stable partner, minimal vices, etc) often decide not to have children, or they wait until their mid-late thirties. For some, this brings unforeseen complications.
Meanwhile, in working class neighbourhoods, girls as young as thirteen fantasise about getting pregnant, rather than finding a career.
It’s difficult to find a middle ground.