Family, fertility decline impacts economy

Published: Sunday, April 24 2011 4:26 p.m. MDT

According to the documentary, five megatrends are contributing to the Demographic Winter scenario, including the women's revolution, prosperity, the sexual revolution, the divorce revolution (particularly the introduction of no-fault divorce laws) and an emphasis on individualism rather than a focus on others.

"Love of self is not consistent with a love of children," says Bruce C. Hafen, former dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU and an emeritus LDS general authority.

Phillip Longman, an American demographer and Schwartz Senior Fellow with the New American Foundation, says men need an incentive to marry and have children. Families generate human capital and provide the basic units of a healthy economy: credibility and trust.

Baby bounties, offered in countries likes Japan, Italy and Russia, are not working to encourage people to have children, but family-friendly policies can and do. Religious beliefs seem to have the most impact on people's decisions regarding children.

"Society needs to turn around and value family more," Becker says. "There is hope so long as we can see families as the foundation."

Sharon Haddock is a professional freelance writer with 30 years experience, 17 of those at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at

Email: haddoc@desnews.c