One of the most significant issues facing Canadians is the declining birth rate. While this may seem minor to many, a low birth rate is catastrophic as it is directly tied to the economy and the functioning of modern society.
The purpose of taxes is for the government to collect enough money so that it may function, and provide a number of goods and services to the general public. These goods and services take various forms such as maintenance, upgrades, social services (healthcare) and so forth. A high quality of life demands taxes. What this means is that these goods and services are dependent on how much money the government can collect.
Tax collection, in relation to the country’s population, is based on:
Number of working adults;
Earnings of these working adults; and
If the government can’t collect sufficient tax money, then the quality and/or availability of these goods and services will decline.
For this reason, a growing population is not only beneficial but necessary, since the taxes of each new generation of working adults must support the entire population. This means that as a generation enters the working adult part of its life cycle, it must generate enough tax dollars so that the non-working generations are supported while the government maintains or improves a number of infrastructures and services. The nature of this system is that for everyone to be supported, each new generation must be larger than the last.
The live birth rate is the number of babies born per thousand of population per year. Between 1900 and 1965, the live birth rate in Canada was in the high 20s per 1000. Since 1965, it has decreased to a 3rd of that. In the last decade, the live birth rate was consistently ~10 per 1000. This means that there are 66 percent less children being born per 1000 people than before, and this has been going on since the 60s. Why is this the case and what can be done about it?
This decrease in live birth rate coincides with when female labour force participation significantly increased after World War 2. Between the 1950s and 1980s, female labour force participation increased from 25% to ~60%. This increase was led, first and foremost, by married women. Women being encouraged to focus on their careers as opposed to adopting traditional roles, in addition to a culture shift towards a career centric life, has played a role in decreasing the fertility rate. Recently, the increased cost of living, unaffordable housing, limited job opportunities, and increasing debt has made it such that it is almost financially impossible for the average couple to have enough children to grow the Canadian population. The best way to remedy this is to improve the economy, reduce living costs, and create an environment that encourages having families. The future of our country depends on it.
Canadians having more children now will not immediately solve the issue, since it takes between 16 and 25 years for a person to become a tax-paying working adult.
Until then, what can be done about it? The true purpose of immigration is not for “diversity”, as some political parties claim, but a way to immediately address this issue in the short term. However, this is a band solution that addresses the symptom and not the root cause. The Canadian government must ensure that having multiple children is viable for all Canadians.
OECD Gender Brief
Births and Deaths: