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The Baby Bust Generation

Humphrey Applebee Wrote: Dec 17, 2012 8:12 AM
True, the immigrants from Europe in the early 20th centuary were critical to our emmergence as an economic superpower. However, that was done without massive governmental involvement. Today's immigrants are here yes for work but they also know the government will be here to support them if things get too rough. That's the big difference. The earlier group had no expectation.

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...