Fertility rate threatening NZ’s economic growth

fertility rate

New Zealand’s total fertility rate has reached an all-time low.

An average of 1.71 children per woman in New Zealand is well below population replacement level and threatens economic growth and the country’s social balance and structure.

Population replacement and growth is only coming by way of immigration.

The claims come in “Families: Ever Fewer or No Children, How Worried Should We Be?” – a discussion paper from Family First NZ.

The report’s author is Lindsay Mitchell, and in the report she looks at the reasons behind falling fertility, and discusses what might influence future trends.

In the report she attributes the reduction in fertility to

  • Government policy
  • Better educated females
  • Increased female participation in the work force
  • Economic pressure
  • Pressure from environmentalists to have fewer children
  • Ineffective policy interventions to incourage fertility.

As well as looking at the historical context of family size in New Zealand, the report also examines also reviews other countries’ efforts to incentivise fertility.

“To date, New Zealand has been complacent about its total fertility rate.

“Firstly because it fluctuated around replacement rate for a long period, and secondly, it was higher than most other OECD countries.’

The report shows that New Zealand’s fertility trend is beginning to  resemble many other European and Asian nations struggling to boost their fertility rates.

“As New Zealand’s fertility rate falls progressively further below population replacement level, the need to address the issue becomes more urgent,” Mitchell points out.

“Without population replacement or growth, economies decline,” she writes.

Mitchell point sout that a nation’s strength lies in its young: their energy, innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship and that new blood drives the exchange of ideas and experimentation.

“If these attributes aren’t home-grown, they have to be imported,” she says.

Looking at the big picture Mitchell sounds a warning, saying that single person households are the fastest growing household type in New Zealand.

“I increasingly people are facing old-age with few or no family support,” she writes.

Mitchell says the matter of fertility is critical to New Zealand’s future and she encourages people to feature the topic in public and private conversations.

“Ultimately, whether or not people choose to have a child or children is a highly personal matter, but they shouldn’t be denied balanced information to help them decide.”

  • Source: Family First
Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , , ,