In last week’s budget, George Osborne decreed that in future, benefits payable for children will only be paid for two children per family, and not for the third or any subsequent children.
Apart from what else is wrong with this, such as penalising larger families, putting economic pressure on women to end otherwise wanted pregnancies, and punishing children for having several siblings, he may not realise that the replacement level for a population is not two children per woman, but slightly more than two children. In other words, unless you want the population to shrink, some women have to have three children.
A moment’s thought makes this obvious. Some women will not want to have children; some women can’t have children; some women find they can have only one child; some children will die before they themselves become parents. So, if the upper limit was set at two children per woman, then, little by little, the population would decrease.
Is this what you had in mind, George? I doubt it. Perhaps what you had in mind was a kind of welfare eugenics, whereby the only people who have more than two children are those nice well off people who aren’t forced by today’s poverty wages to claim benefits. If so, why not come out and tell us? It would be handy to know.