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February 08, 2008


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I got Pedialyte in the fridge and Night Ranger on the speakers.

Will Baird

Reproducing in Cities:



Reproducing in cities has always been costly, leading to lower fertility (that is, lower birth rates) in urban than in rural areas. Historically, although cities provided job opportunities, initially residents incurred the penalty of higher infant mortality, but as mortality rates fell at the end of the 19th century, European birth rates began to plummet. Fertility decline in Africa only started recently and has been dramatic in some cities. Here it is argued that both historical and evolutionary demographers are interpreting fertility declines across the globe in terms of the relative costs of child rearing, which increase to allow children to outcompete their peers. Now largely free from the fear of early death, postindustrial societies may create an environment that generates runaway parental investment, which will continue to drive fertility ever lower.

I can provide the paper if anyone can't get it and wants it.


"Runaway parental investment"?

Doug M.

Will Baird

yeah. Interesting comment that. I suspect the author is referring to the insane levels of stuff that people do (at least around here) for their kids: there's a nontrivial number of people spending college levels of dinero on private schools, private lessons for all sorts, etc. All in the name of getting their kids the edge over the others.

The amount of money really is insane: I have a coworker that is going down this route and he's confessed even though he and his wife make more than six figures each, that they couldn't afford another child.



Doug, tab around until you find that issue's table of contents. some intriguing recent case studies on urban development. (the four feature articles are sort of PNAS/eh, IMO.)

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