Category Archives: Women

Women and population decline

This lengthy New York Times article, looking at why many European nations (Italy, Germany to name a couple) have alarmingly low birthrates, might shed a little more light on population loss in Upstate New York. The factor that is most examined is why young people are leaving the area (and presumably having babies elsewhere, since America’s overall birth rate is not really in trouble). Less examined is the birthrate in Upstate communities. Are women who stay here having more, less, or the same number of babies? And does it really matter?

Researchers find that European women who join the work force — and have husbands who participate more in child-rearing — are more likely to have more kids. Women who don’t have economic control over their situation (i.e., stay at home and don’t work) and who get less help with the kids from their husbands (or from the community) will be less inclined to have more than one. It’s not surprising that when faced with a combination of economic and social conditions that are less favorable for raising children, women (under various personal rationales) will choose not to reproduce.

It may seem strange, then, that women from some poorer communities would have more than one child; but this possibly has something to do with community differences. It could be about access to birth control, obviously, but also whether the woman feels there is enough of a safety net – in the context of their own immediate community standards for the work of raising children. Ironically, some women from more affluent backgrounds may be less likely to feel there is that safety net.

(The article has other relevant points for Upstate – about urban planning and economic adaptation – so check it out.)

Beyond the gentlemen’s agreement

This is a long and kind of circular post about events in Albany past and present. It’s probably going to be the least-linked-to post of my blogging career, but now is the perfect time to post it.

First of all, I’d like to thank Gov. Paterson for his speech in Rochester the other day, where he (as I expected he might) drew a parallel between Upstate and Harlem. I would also like to note some appreciation, if not outright “thanks,” for the regretful and certainly politically expedient (although that may just be “possibly politically expedient”) press conference he gave in Albany on Tuesday. Perhaps even more than former Gov. Spitzer’s personal problems spilling into his political life, Gov. Paterson’s press conference has made stories like Michael Gormley’s report on Albany nookie possible (although heck, it’s not like Gormley just learned about all this, is it?) This story produced a very lively conversation thread at TAP.
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