I quickly Googled teen pregnancy rates because it had marginal relevance to the welfare post I’m writing. But what I found is significant enough to merit a post on its own.
The United States has a total fertility rate of 2.09. But it has a teen birth rate of 43 in 1,000, i.e. an American girl can expect to have 0.22 children by the time she turns 20. If we assume that a woman’s post-20 fertility rate is independent of whether she gave birth in her teen years, it means that the USA’s post-20 fertility rate is 1.87, which breaks down as 1.78 for non-Hispanics (1.86 for blacks, 1.76 for whites) and 2.49 for Hispanics.
The significance of that is that modern states can only attain replacement rates by making women barefoot and pregnant. France, the most economically natalist state in Europe, has a fertility rate of 1.84, falling to 1.79 when excluding teen mothers.
I’m only pointing that out because I’ve seen people argue a few times that child credit policies should be aimed at discouraging childbirth – for example, by having no child credit. I appreciate that some liberals are trying to socially engineer a more eco-friendly society, but it doesn’t work. Poor people who aren’t religious fanatics don’t stop having children because welfare won’t cover it. Conversely, countries with decent sex education can’t increase their fertility rate to 2 even when they pay women hefty sums of money to be stay-at-home-moms.
Economic populism is usually not a very good idea, but when it comes to child credit policy, reality is on the populists’ side rather than on the latte liberals’.