A headline in the New York Times, 11/5/91 read: “Stark Data on Women: 100 Million are Missing.” Actually, it was not 100 million women who were missing. It was 100 million children––girl children. “At least 60 million females in Asia are missing and feared dead, victims of nothing more than their sex,” the article continued. It seems that Asian countries, especially China and India, have noted markedly skewed ratios of boys to girls in recent years.

Under normal circumstances, the ratio of boy births to girl births the world over is about 105 to 100, but this ratio is evened up as the years go by, more boys dying at every age after birth. However, in the Asian countries such as China and India, boys have traditionally been preferred so that even as far back as 1953 boy children outnumbered girl children by about 108 to 100, due primarily to female infanticide or neglect.

A more recent New York Times piece (July 12, 1993) reported a dramatic increase in the ratio of boys to girls with such shocking preliminary statistics that authorities ordered them kept secret. The culprit is apparently the ultrasound scanner. A peasant in Xiamen, China, reported: “Last year we had only one girl born in the village–everybody else had boys.” For a bribe of $35 or a carton of cigarettes, a doctor could be coaxed to reveal the sex of the child and “If it’s a girl, you get an abortion.” China’s shocking statistics may soon reach 120 boys for each 100 girls, according to a Chinese think-tank. In South Korea a ratio of 116 boys to 100 girls was reported in 1990 but is now shifting toward parity with a ratio of 107 boys for every 100 girls.

Sons traditionally represent security, they carry on the family name, they take care of the aging parents, whereas girls leave the family when they marry. With the help of the ultrasound scanner it is no longer necessary to keep on having child after child until you get a boy. Because ultrasound determination of sex is not as accurate early on, second trimester abortions are frequent, usually turning out to be female. “But when it is a boy, about 20% of the time, presumably because the ultrasound operator made a mistake, the mother may become hysterical with shock and grief.”

Even in these United States, a study of gender preference at Cleveland State University found that while American couples generally want a boy and a girl, they want the boy first. Roughly 94% of men and 81% of women would use gender selection technology to have a first-born son.
But the missing children are not only girls. Boys, too, are missing. Consider that in 1945 for each person collecting Social Security there were 46 workers paying into it. Today for each of the 41 million beneficiaries of Social Security, only three workers are contributing. For the first time in history the number of people over age 65 is greater than the number under age 18. Diane Herz of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington says: “There are 2.3 million fewer young people in the work force today than in 1970,” and Senator Edward Kennedy, Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, reported, “For the first time since World War II American faces a prolonged labor shortage–a shortage of labor and skills.” Demographer Ben Wattenberg writes: “In a pay-as-you-go Social Security system such as ours, the working population must put babies as well as money into the pot.” J. F. Foegen, Professor of Business at Winona State University, suggests that “Voters who are unwilling to ban abortion on moral or ethical grounds might well do it to protect their own economic future.”

We have seen the decrease in the number of grammar school children and the closing of elementary schools. In fact, the July, 1993, issue of Atlantic calls families with school children “the newest minority,” having declined to 34.6% in 1990. In 1985 there were eight million fewer pupils in the nation’s grammar schools than there were in 1969. The school age population has been dropping by more than a half-million children a year.

We have seen the closing of retail stores, the decrease in housing starts, the empty office spaces.  Jean-Claude Chesnais, of the Institute of Demographic Studies in France, predicts: “The need for immigrants  will grow….Fewer people are entering the labor market and more are leaving. You have an aging labor force that is tired and less efficient but also wants higher salaries. What does a businessman do? He turns to immigrants who earn less and work harder.” We need look no further than the check-out counter at our local supermarket to bear this out.

Japan, too, with its plunging birth rate (now 1.5 children per family, replacement rate being 2.1) and an impressive life expectancy, is feeling the “birth dearth.” The Japanese government is trying to encourage couples to have more children, fearing eventual labor shortages, slowed economic growth, and increased tax burdens. Of the total population of 124 million, 17.4% are under 15, compared to 36 percent under 15 before World War II. Japan has not legalized birth control pills (they are considered medically hazardous) but abortions, sterilization, and condoms abound. The nation is experiencing a shortage of workers in the 3-D jobs (dirty, demanding, or dangerous) and the women are feeling pressure to do it all-–care for aging relatives, supplement the work force, and have more babies!

Whether called the Baby Bust or the Birth Dearth (see The Birth Dearth by Ben Wattenberg, 1987, (Pharos), the phenomenon results not only in fewer workers but in fewer buyers. Remember when Gerber advertised, “Babies are our business, our only business?” Now Gerber sells insurance. Many industries catering to children’s needs are branching out or going under.

Where have all the children gone? They’ve been un-chosen. Never in history has there been such an anti-child sentiment as exists today. Never before have there been so many ways to free ourselves of the burden of children. The birth rate in the United States has been steadily falling for the past 30 years and only in 2000 has it shown an upswing, part of which is attributed to the high fertility rate among immigrants. The rejoicing at our present stabilizing rate of 2.1 may indicate that we are finally thinking babies may be a blessing after all.

We’ve only seen the beginning of the world-wide Birth Dearth. The next 20 years are the years when the missing children would have been entering their productive years, buying the big ticket items, and producing children to replace themselves. The peoples of the modern industrial world are in a fertility free-fall which will cause a marked reshuffling of society as we know it, with shifts in the balance of power and cultural and ethnic make-up. An example is what has been terms “the Islamization of France.” Given present trends French scientist, Dr. Emmanuel Tremblay, predicted that France will be a Moslem nation within 40 years. Advertisements produced by the French government picture a baby with the caption, “La France a besoin des enfants,” “France needs babies”)

The handwriting is on the wall. When the children die, the nation dies.