Suzanne Fields

The paucity of children among educated women has other demographic repercussions, too. Fewer women of the following generation will be able to enjoy the lifestyles of their mothers. Investors in consumer products go where there's a dynamic youthful population, and an aging population creates declining markets. SYFs and low fertility rates initially boost the economy with larger disposable incomes, but that doesn't last. Manufacturers of consumer goods for children will only feel the pain first. Grandparents who could afford to buy gifts and goodies for their grandchildren won't have grandchildren to buy gifts and goodies for.

If there are fewer children of educated women, what will that mean for the creation of challenging ideas and innovative technology? How will that affect the job market? In the global economy, good jobs go to those with college degrees, and the college graduate is usually begat by college graduates.

There's the prospective gender gap of another kind. For example, ambitious women in some German communities in what was formerly the East, where there is high unemployment, are leaving their hometowns in search of a better life spiced with a little fun. These women are much more flexible than the men they leave behind in towns now dominated by men without women. The Berlin Institute for Population and Development estimates that in 60 German towns of 5,000 persons, the male-female ratio is 10 men to 8 women. In some towns, the gap is wider. More women than men in Poland have high school diplomas and college degrees, which dims educated-female marriage prospects.

The women may be having more fun than the men, but at the heart of the SYF narrative is her potential for childlessness. The law of unintended consequences stalks fertility. Most women in America still want to marry and have children, and many of those wait too long have trouble getting pregnant. The statistics on late marriages mirrors statistics of late-pregnancy difficulties. "Youth," George Bernard Shaw famously observed, "is wasted on the young." This is something SYFs could ponder, PDQ.

Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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