First, OK, yes the title might be a bit much. And a second caveat, it's a little science-y. Especially for me. But I'll give you the layman's summary:
People are waiting longer to have kids (in 1970 the average age for a woman to have her first baby was around 21; now it is 25) and as much as there are benefits like general maturity and financial stability to that, there are also risks. Risks include fertility struggles, the child's health, a smaller family "village" to help raise the child and the economics of a shrinking population.
Young parents, on-par aged parents, old parents - all that aside. I really like the way the article ends: with a call to action for a more family-friendly society. There are lots of ideas about what that means. With my thus very limited scope, if I were Queen of the World, I would start with family leave and up it to at least the following
- 6 months maternity leave
- 6 months paternity leave (and somehow make it totally normal and expected by employers that new dads actually use at least most of it)
- partially-paid for the full duration, funded by the government
- More job-sharing, starting with, you got it, government jobs
- Make "work-life balance" an everyone's issue, not a women's issue (starting with making the Mitt Romneys of the world also ask men what time they need to get home for dinner with the family)
- Public pre-school because early education is important for the long-haul and as icing on the cake, this would reduce the years that working parents pay for full-time childcare
- Free prenatal health care. Because duh.
- Free childhood immunizations. Because duh.
- Stabilize the cost of college so that educated wanna-be-parents don't have to choose between paying off college loans and baby-related expenses
- Increase incentive (maybe reduced interest rate on federal loans? partial loan forgiveness?) to finish a 2 year degree in 2 years and 4 year degree in 4 years so young adults are ready to enter the workforce quicker and can get their feet under them younger