Fertility rates in North America reached ~4.0 children per women during the baby boom. At the time, the economy was strong, and the middle class was being rewarded in part due to the New Deal, and in part due to having fought in World War II.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, a man could graduate high school, even college, not have massive student loans, and be able to get a car, a house, and start a family in short order. But high school is now useless, college is overpriced due to administrators and high-interest loans, and houses are overpriced for reasons that I'll get into below.
The economy began to slow in the 1970s for reasons that I won't get into here, and the policy response was to transfer wealth from the working and middle classes to the upper classes, so that ambition among the top 10% could keep being rewarded. It now takes longer to have the financial stability that people want prior to starting a family. Further, there are health problems that might be preventing family information, both by reducing fertility and by making people less attractive. These include the obesity epidemic, which was partly caused by Coca Cola bribing scientists in the 1960s to falsely argue that heart disease was caused by saturated fat and cholesterol. The obesity epidemic is well known to have taken off in the late 1970s, which is when the diets began to shift. That argument I think that I understand well. There may also be a lot of problems from plastics in the environment, but that argument I understand less well. I don't know enough to vouch for it. We also know that social media, online pornography, etc can detrimentally impact people's social skills if they are overused.
The hollowing out of the middle class in North America was partly slowed down by a few factors. First, people went into debt, but that has reached its limits. Second, people worked longer hours, but that has also reached its limits. Third, women joined the workforce, but that has also reached its limits -- notice that the governments report "median household income", which is automatically higher than it was forty years ago due to women working, if the government didn't mislead about economics, it would emphasize "median personal income". Those policy hacks are no longer available, as they've been exhausted, and there's very little left for rich people to plunder.
Women joined the workforce for a few reasons that made it inevitable. The mid-century saw the widespread adoption of tools such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, easy-to-cook food, etc that actually reduced a lot of stress on mothers, it liberated a lot of time. They didn't have as many chores to do as their mothers. Health care improved, which means that kids were less likely to be sick all of the time, to develop polio, etc, and that women were living to 80 rather than 40. So women were going to join the workforce, but that should have meant a doubling of living standards for families. It did not. Living standards are comparable or lower to what they were 40 years ago.
Some of this was also offset by reducing costs. Manufacturing was shifted to China, which allows people to get cheap goods at Wal Mart, but now a lot of people are unemployed, underemployed, and underpaid. Immigrants were brought in past the economic boom times, which lowers the cost of labour for everything from fast food to hospital cleaning to dry-cleaning to construction. But it also eventually increases the cost of rent, and decreases wages for others. Here in the USA, the government does not properly account for the cost of housing in their estimate of the inflation rate, which enables them to report an artificially low inflation rate.
Circling back to the fertility rates, they are catastrophically low. First, citizens are being deprived of one of the basic joys of life -- raising a family -- because they are debt peons. Second, it bodes ill for the next generations. Kids for the most pat are likely better off raised if they have a lot of siblings and maybe even a lot of cousins and aunts and uncles. It's true that only-children are demonstrated to have some qualities, but a generation made up entirely of only-children might be an issue. The solution is to transfer massive amounts of wealth from the upper class to the working and middle class, think what Hungary's Viktor Orban is doing, but two or three times larger, or more. Give higher wages, more benefits, and more stability. But I don't see that happening. The CEOs, the Banks, the Pharmaceutical companies, etc are not going to give up their 7th homes.
So I think that all of this is related, and I unfortunately cannot offer much hope. I think that there's very little middle class wealth left to plunder, and when I realized this would happen a few years ago I predicted war. I am deeply afraid for the next war, honestly.
Added in 55 minutes 12 seconds:
The replacement of Justice Kennedy with Justice Kavanaugh on the US Supreme Court is leading to a lot of anti-abortion bills being passed by state houses in the USA.
Recall: Roe vs Wade is the ruling from 1973 that banned criminalization of abortion in the USA, on privacy grounds. In theory, for it to be overturned, a sufficiently conservative Supreme Court needs to be appointed, which has plausibly but not definitely happened. If it's overturned, abortion ends up being regulated by the states, not the federal government.
So Georgia, Alabamba, and Ohio have passed anti-abortion bills. These bills aren't really intended to ban abortion, but to be challenged and end up in the Supreme Court, so that Roe v Wade is struck down, and abortion restrictions can follow.
So far, I have made no value judgments, I have only described things.
Some things worth noting:
1) The Ohio bill bans abortions for ectopic pregnancies. The idea is that the embryos from ectopic pregnancies should just be re-implanted. That is insane pseudoscience.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ohio-abort ... -be-moved/
I know a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy. She almost died.
2) Alabamba, which wants to ban abortion in all cases on the basis that "life is sacred", has the highest rate of infant mortality in the USA:
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosm ... tality.htm
If they really valued human life, they would try and reduce their rate of infant mortality.