Turns out the cliché, “Children are our future,” is untrue, at least in California. According to an analysis of census data by the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, we’re running low on kids. So low, in fact, that California will soon resemble a massive retirement community, with no one to run it.
California will be the dystopian answer to Logan’s Run, but instead of everyone being under 30, they’ll be over 60 and Logan won’t be running so much as using a walker after hip replacement surgery. And all due to a sudden lack of kids. This is ironic since most parents I know secretly complain that they have at least one too many. And that includes parents of single children like me. Children, however, are the economic engines of the future, since we need able bodies and agile minds to keep the machine going until the machine just gets rid of us.Released on Tuesday, the report’s author, Dowell Myers, professor of policy and demography and director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at USC, observes that the increasing imbalance between children and the rising tide of retirees suggests that “the economic role of a child born in 2015 will be nearly twice as important as that of a child born in 1985.“
Facebook vs. Fertility
Having lived through the 80s, I witnessed the rise of the Millennials from their earliest days and I’ve long suspected the value of their economic contributions beyond buttressing the box office of the Home Alone movies.
Consider that the brightest light among this demographic, Mark Zuckerberg, created the single most successful timesuck known to humankind: Facebook. According to a poll conducted by Kelly Services, 36 percent of Millennials thought checking up on their Facebook accounts and social media sites at work was kosher. This is not a prescription for productivity. Though I suppose that’s probably part of the plan. Social media is a gateway drug that leads to living in the Matrix.
Let’s just hope that in the future, an older, eviler Zuck doesn’t perfect time travel and send a robot assassin back to 2015 to close the loop on our yet-to-be-born techno-savior (read: Facebook killer), before they post “Neo is born” to the Timeline.
Reading between the lines of Myers’ report, it seems that the solution to California’s reverse Children of the Corn scenario is for those of childbearing age to stop cyberstalking their high school crushes on Facebook and start procreating with them instead. This is probably horrible advice, but as the 40-year-old father of a 3.5-year-old, this much I know — kids are exhausting, perhaps even lethal to those over a certain age. Raising children is work better left to the young and hearty and naive.
Children Are Our Future. Not.
Lately, I’ve found myself at parties, buttonholing twenty-somethings with the virtues of early parenthood. They argue that they must wait for their careers to blossom or relationships to fortify. Then I reveal the secret that, no matter what, you will always be broke and resent your spouse, so you might as well start now so that when you’re my age and no longer give a crap about the anxieties that plague your twenty-something soul, your kid will be packing up their room, off to waste your money on college, Europe or wherever the hell it is young people think they have to go whilst in search of themselves.
Of course, when some oldster gave me the same unsolicited advice 15 years ago, I all but laughed him out of the room, so I’ll have only myself to blame when we’re all starving geezer zombies, roaming the wastelands of the Golden State, looking for kids to eat.