In 1960, the year Helen Cini gave birth to one of her five children, 15 other kids were born on her block here in this quintessential post-war American suburb. The local obstetrician was so busy he often slept in his car.
Kathy Bachman felt like an oddity when her family moved to Cherry Lane in the Crabtree section of Levittown when she was 5. She was an only child, and "everybody had five or six kids in every house."
Fast forward to 2011.
Bachman, now 64, still lives in her childhood home. She brought up her kids there, but they're grown and gone. The house next door is vacant. Few driveways are clutterd with scooters and tricycles....
The share of the population under age 18 dropped in 95% of U.S. counties since 2000....There are now more households with dogs (43 million) than children.Okay, so who cares? Mr. Wilson is a lot happier now that Dennis the Menace isn't pestering him (although Mrs. Wilson misses having a reason to fill her cookie jar). And what's the big deal if children are disappearing?
Take a look at Levittown for the broader impact of an aging population than quiet neighborhoods. Three schools have closed in Bristol Township: an elementary, a middle, and a high school; and the school district may eliminate all-day kindergarten as well. What does that mean? Layoffs for teachers, perhaps poetic justice in view of the long-standing support of the education lobby for abortion. Guess what! Dead babies don't grow up to fill empty classrooms. Kill off the next generation of students and you don't need teachers to educate them.
You also don't need the same type of housing and support businesses. Grandmas love to buy for their grandkids, but they sure aren't shipping playsets and bikes to little Sonny out in California. And they don't buy much when they have only two or three grandchildren. So good-bye Toys R Us and toy departments. Ditto for children's furniture, kids snack items, games, and videos. You may not care, but the people who produce those items do. Where do they go after they get their pink slips?
Say good-bye as well to Motherhood maternity stores and the local day care centers, ditto for children's clothing stores. USA Today quoted Michael Silverman who heads up a national appraisal firm in Philadelphia. "When there are fewer kids in a market area, you're going to have a variety of supporting services go away and essentially die. When you have a variety of retailers going out of business and people getting older, pricing gets depressed....The way to keep a community going is to keep it young."
But the population doomsayers are still singing the same old song that the world's (and the USA's) problem is overpopulation. It's nonsense, of course. By any standard we are healthier, live longer, eat better, and are more prosperous than 100 years ago. Sure there is poverty in the world and much of it can be eliminated by economic development and education. Many third world countries are rich in resources, but also plagued by the greed and injustice of local despots as well as ugly Americans filling their local medicine chests with chemical contraceptives, condoms, and abortion kits rather than what they desperately need: antibiotics, anti-diarrhea and re-hydration meds, and anti-malarial drugs. Killing the babies of the poor in those countries is not the way to pull them out of poverty. See Population Research Institute's article, Welcome Baby Seven Billion for a sensible attitude toward population. And the next time you see a family with little children, thank them. Those babes will one day be paying for your social security -- that is if it lasts that long. And when you see the words "birth dearth," remember that no more children means death to the earth.