My photo
Dallas, Texas, United States

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Pandemic Fertility

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed by Congress to mitigate the harms of the COVID-19 pandemic, my family will receive money from the government for the 2021 Child Tax Credit.  Part of this credit will be paid out in advance so with three children at home we will be receiving $750 per month.  Along with the previous stimulus checks, more formally known as economic impact payments, this is starting to feel a lot like universal basic income.

Under the proposed American Families Plan, these child tax credits would be extended another five years.  There are some legislators who would go even further by making it permanent.  My youngest is seven-years-old so we could be receiving these checks for another decade.

Besides a reduction in childhood poverty, one of the benefits of permanent child tax credits could be a restoration of the national fertility rate to a sustainable level.  As I wrote previously, we need to figure out how emulate those countries that are both happy and fertile.  Some countries are attempting to resolve this issue with monthly payments to parents but this is only partially successful.

I think urbanization is a main cause of the declining birth rate.  We are all moving to the city because that is where the jobs are.  To raise children requires extra bedrooms which is often unaffordable in the city even with both parents working full-time.

The pandemic has reduced the birth rate even further but might have a long-term positive effect by accelerating deurbanizationTelecommuting is permitting some parents to move their families to suburbs and exurbs where they can afford single family homes in good school districts.  Moving farther out to rural areas becomes more feasible with virtual schools.

Just a few generations ago, my ancestors raised their large families on relatively isolated farms and ranches.  The technology and cultural shifts of the current pandemic might help us spread out again.  This in turn might help us survive the next world-wide crisis.