The Economist has released a fascinating theoretical chart detailing when various countries will stop producing children if current marriage and birthrate trends continue. The report suggests that in the long term, not enough women will replace themselves with daughters, leading to the birth of the "last woman" in various countries, and the end of humanity. The chart has bad news for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Apparently, it will see the last woman born around the year 2650. Canada fares much better: we should last until almost 4500 A.D.
Check out the chart and article here:
Of course, this is all just speculation (the article refers to the work as "back-of-the-envelope calculations"), but it's interesting to consider what the long-term effects of current changes in birth rates might be. In Canada, the total number of live births went up each year from 2002 to 2008. But the rate of increase seems to be slowing down.
Whatever happens in the long run, the shorter-term consequences of slow birth rates may be serious. Last year, the federal government released a report stating that low birth rates may lead to severe strain on government finances, as not enough children are born to take the place of retiring Canadians in the workforce. Hopefully, Canada will continue to thrive until the year 4500 and beyond. For now, we've got work to do.