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Date and Location

January 31, 2023
4:15 PM - 5:45 PM ET
B-500 Bell Hall


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​​In light of the news that China's population has already peaked, this seminar will examine data from around the world to discuss why so many people outside sub saharan Africa are having fewer children - or none at all. 

Individual decisions made by millions are adding up to a collective trend unprecedented in history: voluntary childlessness. This could see global population peak at levels much lower than the 10 billion forecast by the UN.  This is encouraging to environmentalists, but worrying to economists who fear the impact on GDP.  Conventional explanations - that childcare is too expensive, for example, and that women want careers - don't fully explain what is happening. We will look at alternative explanations, especially in the US and Europe.  The seminar will present data on different "pro-natalist" policies being used by 50 governments to make it easier to become a parent; and learn whether they are succeeding. We will also consider radical new suggestions, such as taxing the childless, and the questions this would raise.  Plus we will debate the ethics and effectiveness of tactics being used by employers, including egg-freezing and IVF.  The seminar will be led by Research Fellow Baroness Camilla Cavendish, Financial Times columnist and editor, and former senior advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron. She will also talk about her own experiences of combining career and children (she has three).

This in-person study group /discussion is open to all. Registration is not necessary.

Speakers and Presenters

Camilla Cavendish, M-RCBG Research Fellow