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The number of births is falling because marriage is falling

American women are having fewer children today than at any time in history, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.

Astonishingly, the 10-page report makes no mention at all of the driving cause of the birth shortage: the parallel record number of households headed by married couples.

The math is simple. Women who marry earlier in their lives, give birth earlier and end up in larger families. Half of women who marry in their early 20s end up having at least three children, compared to just 33% of women who marry after 30. More than 60% of women who marry in their thirties have two children or fewer.

And of course, married women are much more likely to have children than women who remain single (single women have an average of 1.15 children over their lifetime, married women 2.12).

Essentially, the entire decline in fertility since 2001 can be attributed to the decline in marriage.

In their account of our country’s record low fertility, the Wall Street Journal claimed that birth rates are declining in part because “women are building fulfilling careers.”

But how ‘fulfilling’ are those careers actually?

Women, especially young liberal women, are becoming increasingly unhappy as they enter the workforce in greater numbers. If all these new careers are so satisfying, why are women so much unhappier now?

The Wall Street Journal also quotes “experts” who claim that “an influx of people immigrating to the US could offset the impact of lower birth rates.”

Yes, more immigrants could replace those not born as a result of the decline in marriage, but at what cost? As the Congressional Budget Office recently reported, the influx of immigrants during President Joe Biden’s border crisis has only led to lower wages and less investment.

“A significant portion of the additional foreigners will initially work in sectors of the economy with relatively low productivity,” the CBO writes. “Additional foreigners are expected to work in sectors of the economy that pay relatively low wages, putting downward pressure on average wages… the expected increase in the number of workers reduces the amount of capital (plants and machinery) per worker, which also exerts downward pressure on average real wages.”

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Lower wages, especially lower wages for men, mean even lower marriage rates in the future. Trying to solve our country’s fertility crisis through immigration will only send us into a fertility death spiral, as more immigration lowers men’s wages, lowering marriage rates and thus lowering fertility.

If we want to solve our country’s fertility crisis, we must solve our country’s marriage crisis.