Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Scholars Give Birth to Theory.(Final)

Byline: John Fleck Journal Staff Writer

* Birth rates decline in growing economies, and UNM pair links it to the amount of energy we use

It takes a load of stuff to raise a child.

From the extra bedroom to the computer, from the car to a college education, the cost of parenthood rises in an affluent society.

That might explain a fact that has long puzzled demographers -- as the nations of the world industrialize and their economies expand, birth rates decline.

It is an evolutionary paradox. As a society's economy improves, it would seem its members could afford to have more children.

New research by a pair of University of New Mexico scientists points to one possible explanation. As our per-capita energy consumption goes up, they note, each additional child gets more expensive. …

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