Sunday, August 09, 2009

The most interesting thing I have read in a while

The Economist of August 8 includes "A link between wealth and breeding ... The best of all possible worlds? ... It was once a rule of demography that people have fewer children as their countries get richer. That rule no longer holds true."

This is one of the most interesting things that I have read in a long time. The demographic transition idea suggests that we get rich, stop breeding, and eventually disappear. I never liked that scenario. The new findings reported in the cited research are much more pleasing.

My colleague Richard Green recently blogged his critique of what he saw as weak claims that U.S. lifestyles will soon change in favor of higher density (and increased rentals) city living. Claims of such reversals pop up all the time and have always been wrong. If the news about fertility rates and wealth are right, then we have one more reason to doubt that settlement trends as we know them will reverse.