In response to:

The Baby Bust Generation

amperro Wrote: Dec 17, 2012 3:53 PM
The years sacrificed to earn a PhD are often prime child-bearing years. It actually makes a great deal of sense that those with advanced degrees have fewer children. Maybe instead of welfare, we should pay graduate students sufficiently large stipends so that they can afford to have a family. That's what trade-offs are about.

FERTILITY IN AMERICA has been declining for years. According to the Pew Research Center, the nation's birth rate hit an all-time low in 2011 – just 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. It was almost twice as high – 123 births per 1,000 women – at the peak of the Baby Boom in 1957.

As babies and children disappear from a society, what takes their place? One answer, as journalist Jonathan V. Last observes in a forthcoming book, "What to Expect When No One's Expecting," is pets.

In surveys taken from the 1940s to the 1980s, fewer...