Our Demographic Winter: Where Have All Babies Gone? 


    I was born and brought up in India. Then moved to the US after medical school. After completing residency, I opened a medical practice in a small town in Pennsylvania. As Corona Pandemic has been ravaging our communities, I am now spending more hours in my clinic taking care of my patients’ medical needs. Most of my patients are the elderly. I love them and respect them. 

   Recently an Amish woman brought her young child to the clinic for evaluation of a sickness. The people in the waiting room were elated when they saw this cute little child. They joyfully said, ‘What a cute baby! It has been a while since we saw an infant.’ Those words stung me. The Western nations are recording skyrocketing mortality rates as the virus spreads from city to city, state to state and nation to nation. Yet the reality is ‘it has been a while since we saw an infant’ as many communities are going through a demographic winter. 

    ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’. Our professor used to say those six words as an example for writing effective flash fiction. Those words often flash in my mind when I think about our record low demographics.  As in America, in Europe, we have seen tragically high death rates in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The birthrate in Europe is between 0.1 and 1.1. 

   New government data shows that the American population is growing at its slowest pace since 1919. Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire told the New York Times, “If this epidemic is as significant as some think, we could have deaths exceeding births in the nation as a whole, which has never happened in the history of this country”¹. This unprecedented ‘deaths exceeding births’ will have enormous consequences for all nations.

How did we come here? Genesis 1:28 states, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” 

When I was going to Sunday school as a child, our Sunday school teacher used to say jokingly, ‘Out of all God’s commandments, this is the only commandment humanity managed to obey’. But thanks to modern secularism, it deprived us of that traditional lone obedience to this commandment.  We are failing to obey even that one last commandment our ancestors fulfilled. Some religious minorities like Amish, Mennonites, Mormons, Orthodox Jews still have high birth rates because they still take this commandment seriously. 

But as a whole, ‘Human beings’ ceased to be the primary concern for today’s Western leaders. They worry more about climate change issues like melting ice caps, shifting weather patterns and rising sea levels. This anxiety now became a mental pandemic among the young people and they are increasingly calling for Birthstrikes and pledging to forgo children to address the ‘ecological crisis’. This voluntary barrenness is embraced as a virtue to protect the climate from the future human invaders.

During this national lockdown, atheist professor Jerry Coyne has been feeding migratory ducks on Botany Pond on the University of Chicago campus. Feeding and nurturing these ducks kindles a feeling in him that he calls ‘maternal’². 

Prominent feminist Rebecca Solnit states, “People lock onto motherhood as a key to feminine identity, in part from the belief that children are the best way to fulfill your capacity to love, even though the list of monstrous, ice-hearted mothers is extensive. But there are so many things to love besides one’s own offspring, so many things that need love, so much other work love has to do in the world.”³

“People lock onto motherhood” Motherhood is increasingly portrayed as a prison. “So much other work love has to do in the world” the modern young couples would like to be the parents of a lot of things except human babies. 

 They would rather adopt a duck or a dog or a cat than having a human child. But ducks, dogs and cats can not drive our mega trucks to our grocery stores; they can not build our homes; they cannot police our streets; they cannot take out our trash; they cannot take care of us when we get sick; they cannot fight for us in a future war with Russia, China or Iran. We need human beings. In American political culture, we’ve heard many phrases that captivated our attention: it’s the economy stupid, it’s the deficit, stupid, it’s the corporation, stupid etc. But the most important thing for our times is, ‘it’s demographics, stupid’. 

Until secularism became dominant, the Western world thrived with robust demographics. Then the anti-human ideologies became mainstream ironically under the name, ‘humanism’. With remarkable foresight, English writer C.S.Lewis observed in The Abolition of Man, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We take men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful⁴.”After castrating the imaginations of our young people with depressing climate apocalypses, it is futile to expect them to be fruitful. 

Christian preacher Ravi Zacharias warns that this demographic decline in the West also makes it fragile before Islamic hardliners. In his book, Jesus Among Secular Gods, he noted, “Watch Europe cower under the heel of Islamists who have not forgotten that they were stopped from overtaking Europe and beaten back by Charles Martel thirteen years ago. Now, with patience and the clever control of demographics and a gullible media, they stand by, ready to one day take over the structures and edifices built by a different ethic and a different belief system. It is only a matter of time, and they are in no hurry. Thirteen centuries ago, Europe was able to stop the theocratic Islamic tidal wave because it had a faith to defend. The value-less culture of today will not be able to withstand the attack⁵.” 

Not surprisingly, the gullible media calls these warnings as ‘bigotry’, ‘xenophobia’, and ‘hate speech’. They say we should rather focus on addressing climate change. 

Having children and caring for the climate are not mutually exclusive. We read in Genesis 2:15, And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

God gave this commandment ‘to dress and keep’ His creation before the Fall. The climate change started with the original sin when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. That’s true, according to the Bible, it is the human sin that started the climate change in this universe. So, on this side of the Fall, we have even more responsibility ‘to dress and keep’ the creation. But we shall not forget that our first priority is ‘be fruitful and multiply’. 


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/us/population-rate-census.html?searchResultPosition=6
  2. https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/mary-schmich/ct-coronavirus-university-of-chicago-duck-honey-20200331-36a64jefszar3d35yc34leozma-story.html
  3. https://onbeing.org/programs/rebecca-solnit-falling-together/
  4. C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Touchstone, 1996)
  5. Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods 


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