Denmark is asking couples to take a romantic holiday vacation and enjoy the benefits of marriage. They hired a travel company to come up with the advertising campaign “Do It For Denmark.” Couples who register, fly to a romantic city (which statistically improves the chances of conception) and conceive a child become eligible for prizes.
That’s right… Denmark wants their Danes to make babies. Why?
Countries are dying
With few exceptions Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) are dropping, causing population declines. The economic health of countries is endangered anytime its fertility rate drops below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.
According to United Nations data, there were only four countries in the early 1950’s with less than the replacement rate: Luxembourg, Latvia, Channel Islands and Estonia. Their TFRs were around 2.0. Today, there are almost 100 countries below 2.1, which include most of Europe, Canada, China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and the United States. Europe’s TFRs hover around 1.5, Japan 1.3, China and Canada 1.7. The common thread is that they are industrialized.
The U.S., which is ranked third in population after China and India, dropped below the replacement rate in 1972. Today, the TFR for the U.S. is 1.97. Unlike most of the world, our population continues to rise as a result of the increasing aging population (1.6 million more births than deaths) and immigration. The total U.S. growth is running over 3 million per year.
Combined with the increased financial burdens of an aging population, having fewer babies leads to a greater burden on the young to support the government, welfare, health and retirement systems. Many countries are already struggling with debt and financial crises.
Denmark describes their birth rate as “dangerously low.” With fewer young Danes, there won’t be enough to maintain its economic growth, welfare programs and possibly, its existence.
What’s their answer?
Denmark has not only launched their procreation ad campaign, they have added to their sex education courses information as to include how to get pregnant, a change from their historical teachings related to the dangers of sex and pregnancies.
Sweden offers its workers 80 percent of their previous salaries to stay home with newborn children for up to 480 days.
Some European countries pay families with children a monthly allowance.
What’s going on?
Perhaps non-industrialized countries’ higher fertility is spurred by their need for larger family to work their farms, as many of these countries continue to have agrarian-based economies.
My husband’s theory is that they don’t have T.V. When you consider how many babies are born 9 months after any disaster that turns off our power, there may be more truth there than we’d like to admit. Perhaps we should tell Denmark to cut the power for a few weeks.
Consider the trends associated with industrialization: Pursuit of career and education, pursuit of financial security, desire for big homes, big toys and entertainment, technology and social media, daycare expenses and delayed parenting (because of the above).
Until the 1960’s the primary goal of U.S. women was to stay home and raise families. Today, women are encouraged to get a degree followed by a career. If they have children, they are encouraged to get back to work quickly so they don’t lose career momentum. That means paying for day car and the more babies you make, the higher your day care bill. Who can afford that?
Then, there are those who remain purposefully childless. They point to the high costs of raising a child and the ways in which raising children would detract from their pursuit of happiness.
In their thought-provoking “Fatherless” series, James Dobson and Kurt Bruner portray the U.S. in 2042 as it reaches the “tipping point where the feeble old outnumber the vigorous young.” As a result, the economy has crumbled.
Members of society have become self-absorbed. Their solutions to the problem are not as humorous as Denmark’s. The old are despised and not revered. Society’s solutions counter every provision God made for man.
However, a young Congressman and his friend have noticed that there are “bright spots” of economic health, which are characterized by married families who have multiple babies. These bright spots resemble a godly plan for families.
What’s God’s answer?
God ordained only three institutions, reminding us of their importance: the home; the church and government. As Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:17, “The Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world” (NLT).
In setting up family, God ordained men and women to marry for life and that they should be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). We are His image bearers and as such we are charged with bringing His glory to our world.
What does God say about worldly solutions to man’s problems?
“Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:1-5a).
Patricia Hartman is a CPA/partner at Kofsky, Hartman & Weinger, PA. www.khwcpa.com, author of “The Christian Prenuptial Agreement” available at www.ChristianPrenuptial.com, president of South Florida Word Weavers and board member Living Water Christian Counseling.