The population rate in the United States has sunk to its lowest number in decades. For the population of any country to be able to replace itself, 2,100 babies need to be born for every 1,000 women, for a replacement rate of 2.1; currently, the United States is reporting 1,765 births for every 1,000 women, far below replacement rate levels. While there have been numerous discussions on why this is happening, CityLab has exposed a disturbing new trend: in cities across the country, local politicians are using zoning laws to prevent families with children from moving in — and it’s disproportionately affecting Millennials and minorities.
Banning day care centers and three-bedroom housing leaves families with few options
Nolan Gray, an urban planning researcher, and Lyman Stone, an economist, outline multiple details showing how city planning officials are essentially creating what they call “vasectomy zoning,” as these policies encourage people to stop having children. “At the end of last year, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission weighed a proposed zoning change that would effectively ban new day-care centers—along with tire stores and car repair shops—in a large chunk of northwest Philadelphia,” they wrote, noting that the proposal appeared to be dead, but adding, “[T]he effort to block additional child-care facilities with a zoning overlay hints at a broader relationship between city planning and the cost of raising children.”
Banning day-care centers is just the beginning. Gray and Stone note that Garwood, New Jersey — a suburb of New York City — adopted a plan with a complete ban on housing units with three or more bedrooms. Nutley, New Jersey likewise has a ban on three-bedroom housing. In New Jersey overall, this is apparently a trend. “[M]unicipalities increasingly meet their state-mandated fair-share affordable housing requirements by building only senior housing,” Gray and Stone wrote. “Affordable housing proposals that include three-bedroom units are rejected out of hand, leaving working families with few options.”
Similar problems are happening in Massachusetts, where affordable housing construction has practically come to a halt. “In addition to simply limiting the number of development permits they issue, suburbs often forbid large apartments and townhomes altogether, while forcing detached homes to sit on large, prohibitively expensive lots,” they said, adding, “The combined result is that few new starter homes or family-sized rental units are successfully built. Meanwhile, rents and prices for the existing units sail beyond the means of most working families.”
Minorities with larger families are forced into lower-quality communities and schools
CityLab writes (emphasis added):
[W]e can now reliably say based on data that rising housing costs are preventing more and more women from having children. While jokes about avocado toast would have you believe that Millennials could afford homes if they could only change their spendthrift ways, the reality seems to work in reverse: High housing costs are likely forcing many young couples to make difficult lifestyle changes, such as delaying children.
In a recent study for the Institute for Family Studies, Lyman finds that faster-rising rents are associated with lower fertility for women in their 20s and 30s, when most young couples would normally be starting families. The net effect of the high cost of housing is that more women are either putting off having children well past their peak family-formation years, or are simply not having the children they say they would like to have.
There’s an even more disturbing aspect to these kinds of policies than just Millennials not being able to have children, however. According to the Census Bureau, the fertility rate has declined the most among white women, who are now having a minority of births in the country for the first time. In this context, minority women — who are having more babies — are effectively being shut out of communities, denied access to necessary support like day care, and are forced into low-income communities with lower quality schools and resources.
Minority families in desperate situations are more likely to choose abortion
When these minority families, who are disproportionately likely to struggle with poverty, are shut out of communities with family-friendly resources and affordable housing, what are they more likely to turn to? Abortion. This is especially problematic, considering how the abortion industry preys on and then mistreats minority women.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, was found in a Live Action undercover investigation to be willing to accept donations when asked if the money could specifically go towards aborting Black babies. They likewise have been found to pressure black women into sterilization. And according to Protecting Black Life, Planned Parenthood facilities are overwhelmingly placed within walking distance of black or Hispanic neighborhoods.
The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, likewise relays some horrifying statistics regarding abortion and minority women. Black women, who currently make up just 13% of the population, account for 28% of abortions. Hispanic women make up 18% of the populations, but 25% of abortions. In cities like New York, the majority of babies aborted are Black and Hispanic, and more black babies are aborted than are born.
This is, without a doubt, a method of population control. Re-zoning laws are the least likely way one might assume that minority and poor women could be convinced to not have children, but that is exactly what is happening. The analysis written by Stone and Gray for City Lab pointed out that many of the people who are not having children aren’t doing so because they don’t want to; it’s because they feel like they have no other option. Women aren’t choosing abortion because they just flippantly feel like getting rid of their babies. They don’t enter abortion facilities cheerily thinking they’re exercising their “choice.” Women turn to abortion because they believe they have no choice — and too many city officials are reinforcing that belief.
More initiatives need to be launched to encourage, not discourage, families, with family-friendly zoning laws, affordable housing, and resources. It’s ludicrous that there are places in this country that day care and three-bedroom apartments are being shut down, and stopping these kinds of outrageous policies is imperative for pro-lifers. As long as they continue to spread, abortion will continue as well.
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