Demographic Winter – It’s Always the Global Catastrophe You Don’t See Coming that Gets You

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the airwaves are full of toy ads. But for the rest of the year, there are fewer and fewer commercials for kids, and more and more aimed at the elderly.

The Congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment was released last week, with the usual dire warnings about melting polar bears and a falling ice cap population – or is it the other way around. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a National Assessment on Declining Fertility, AKA Demographic Winter.

If you watch much television, you’ll see ads for retirement communities, walkers, reverse mortgages, walk-in tubs, hearing aids and cures for every kind of ailment that afflicts the elderly, but nothing for children. I see more commercials for pets (the Millennials’ child-substitute) than for the young of our species.

Toys R Us closed its door this year. I won’t mourn its demise. Here’s a company that contributed  to its own demise, by funding Planned Parenthood.

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Driving around my city, I see what once were schools turned into senior housing. That’ because, like the rest of the industrialized world, we have a growing elderly population and a declining number of children.

Regardless of how much the left squawks about it, man-made Global Warming is still just a theory. Demographic Winter is a reality.

We’ve gone from the Baby Boom of the 1950 and early 1960s to the Baby Bust of today. America now has below-replacement fertility – 1.76 children per woman of childbearing age, with 2.1 needed just to replace current population.  And no one seems to care, including family advocates. Unlike abortion and same-sex marriage, falling fertility isn’t sexy.

One documentary has been done on the subject: “Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family,” and an occasional book, like Jonathan Last’s “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting.”

It’s always the worldwide catastrophe you don’t see coming that gets you.


The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

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