Has abortion benefitted the economy?

This is my first post - be gentle!

Here’s a thought: Given that there have been 35-40 million abortions performed since 1973 (http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/aboramt.html), has the resultant slowed growth in US population benefitted those of us who were born?

Specifically, unemployment as of October 2000 in the U.S. stood at approx. 5.5 million (http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). Would that number be higher if there were (roughly) 1.25 million more workers available for employment?

(N.B. I’m assuming for the sake of argument a steady number of abortions per year, and that everyone who “would have been born” prior to 1982 would be eligible for employment in 2000)

How would the changed numbers have affected taxes, Social Security “contributions,” and other economic factors?

Welcome, ScriboDeus!

I suppose the flaw in the reasoning here is these 40 million people would not only be producers who would glut the market with goods (and hence result in higher unemployment) but also consumers who would ultimately consume an equivalent amount to what they produced. Of course, economy of scale being what it is in the post-modern world, unemployment probably would be somewhat higher.

40 million less people in this age range might result in higher taxes for the remainder to support future retirees, but the loss can be made up for with permissive immigration.

Here is a more persuasive argument for economic benefit (among other things).
Anyone remember this study?

Interesting study, K. Was that for real? I find that to be, most likely, an unrelated affair, but…

It is difficult to say whether or not having abortions helped, hurt, or had no effect on the economy. What would shed some light here is a sort of study showing what economic segment of the population had abortions. Would they be welfare recipients or were the parents simply not emotionally ready? Unemployment figures, as well, don’t tell the whole story if I remember my economics class correctly; many of the people considered unemployed are actually between-job people. I can’t believe there is any unemployment at all and it makes me sick. I see a thousand HELP WANTED signs every day…perhaps abortion is good for the economy…less saps on the system.

{wow, bitter much?}

Before this heads into rantland…

Let’s stipulate for both the pro-choice and pro-life supporters out there that the decision to have or not have an abortion should not hinge on whether it’s good for the U.S. economy.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I don’t know if there’s any way to figure out all the variables. True, you’d have more adults in the workforce, but you’d also have more demand (and hence, a larger market) for education and child care services. But since demand for those services is already nudging up against supply constraints, maybe the net effect in that market segment would be 0.

Clearly there are some basic services-type market segments which would benefit from a larger propulation base: food, energy production, perhaps health care. But again, some of those segments are already stretched to the limit, so maybe a much larger population and a few more workers wouldn’t change things that much, either.

We might find the biggest change to be in the area of leisure products and services, especially those targeted to youth.

The study is for real, it was extensively attacked by those forces who naturally saw it as supporting abortion, but no real flaws in the methodology were found.
It does seem related in that it shows less crime (which harms the economy) as a result of the use of abortion.
Speculation as to why this occurrs gives possible other benefits (less medical care, less welfare use).
More information can easily be found by punching a few related keywords into Google (above link gives references and researcher names which would make good keywords)

OK, in my world geo class we watched a movie about the family size limits in China. There weren’t many specific facts, but the general implication was that a lower birth rate both improved living conditions and stimulated the economy in some misty, undetermined way. Presumably the economy benefited from a better educated, better fed, and healthier work force, but nobody ever comes out and says that. In the US, I see the possible effect that abortions prevent children that would be unwanted, neglected, or suffer in some other way. The generation would therefore on average be better educated and better supported by parents, meaning that these children might contribute more to the economy and have an easier time finding jobs, all other economic factors being equal. Granted, it’s all a little vague, but there must be some sort of impact on the economy, and unemployment. Given the recent record lows (2.6% in MA!!) a potential population difference of 40 million must have something to do with it.
I agree with kunilou, of course, that abortions should NEVER be advocated as “good for the economy”! Talk about fascism.

Yes, and most homeless people are really in-between-homes people :rolleyes:.
I suppose the extreme Libertarian position would be that demand for services exist only when the help the economy; therefore, since there is a demand for abortion, it must help the economy. While I find that position simplistic, I don’t see any better way to evaluate this question.

on TV i have heard politicians and police claim responsibility for the drop in crime but an article in the Economist said it corresponded closely with the rise in abortions. 16 year old juveniles raised inadequately are the beginning of the criminal generation.

Dal Timgar

[hijack] Actually, I see a lot of help-wanted signs as well as help-wanted ads in the paper. Next time your at the mall, check how many stores have the same “help wanted” sign they had last week, and the week before, and the week before that. Try applying for the job and see if you ever get called for an interview. It’s actually a fairly common practice for stores and companies that have a fairly high turnover and want to have a batch of applications current applications on hand in case someone quits or is fired. I know this from personal experience- I was “between jobs” for about a year during the early nineties, and also for a couple of brief periods of time since I moved to Vegas. One place had an ad claiming to have ten openings, but when I went to apply for the job, the day after the ad was run, I was told all the openings had been filled. Interesting that a company could be short ten people on Friday evening, run an ad in the Sunday paper and have all the positions filled by ten thirty Monday morning. I’ve even had people at front desks flat out tell me the company wasn’t hiring, they had just ran the ad to have a pool of applications on hand.

To try and clear some things up:
Employment and unemployment figures are not based on total population. Unemployment rate is a percentage of the Labor Force. To be in the labor force you must be 16 or older and either have worked a minimum of one hour in the reference week (counted as employed) or be available to work in the next 2 weeks and have actively looked for a job in the last month (unemployed). Those in instituitons (prison, mental institute etc) or in the armed forces are not counted in the labor force and neither are students, retired, and whatever the current word for houswife is. So homeless people are usually not considered unemployed. They are not in the labor force.

So, the OP would need to adjust the estimate to those born before 1984, but you just can’t count all as in the labor force. Current figures have 64.4% of the 16 and over population in the labor force. For 16-19 year olds, only 52.1% are in the labor force. For 16-24 it goes up to 64.9% (I can’t break the ages anymore) Some would argue that if those aborted had lived, the percentage in prison would be higher, so that would change the participation rate, even assuming all lived to today.

So, basically, there’s no way to tell. Additionally, many economists don’t consider the current low unemployment to be a good thing. It’s below the level previously considered to be full employment. States are requesting more H1-B visas to fill positions with foreign workers as there are not enough US workers for the jobs (primarily skilled work, IT field etc). US population growth has been approx 1% for over 30 years. With an increasingly aging population, the lower birth rate could cause many problems in the future. Current fertility rates have the average woman in the US having 2.1 children in her life. This just below the replacement rate of a population (0 growth through births) which is 2.2 (more girls are born than boys, so it’s more than 2 for replacement).

so to make a long post even longer…who the hell knows? You’ll hear people saying we have too many babies now, some say too little, some break it down to demographics, etc, etc


… so far it has only been considered that the extra babies would be representative of the normal population.

i dont want to sound … socially evil… but would the babies who are aborted most likely to arise from families who would have most trouble providing for the child… single parents… teenage mothers…

therefore the extra non-aborted babies we would have would be On Average more likely to be dependant on the state rather than contribute towards it…

a very un-nice view point it is… but… it makes a bit of sense


Not that evil/unusual. That’s exactly the explanation used by the authors of the study I linked to above.

Always sensitive to this particular topic having been at least part of the abortion process (and I’m no doctor) once before. It was our decision to do this because we did not feel that, as a couple, we could provide a stable life for the child. Neither of us felt that what we could provide for the child would be enough at the time, and neither of us thought state support was the way to go. The thought was to have one in about two years.

Anyway, I would have had to work two jobs for a large portion of the child’s life and didn’t feel that that entailed very good parenting. Thus, the solution we came to.
{{prepared for the pro-lifers to crucify me}}

It is a convincing argument, to say the least, that abortion culled the crime rate. and here we thought it was all those DEA chaps…

aynrandlover - I’m amazed that you didn’t react to the crucifiction you’re already getting here. Anyway, I am stepping in to support you a bit.
The Ryan - aynrandlover did not state that most unemployed were between jobs, the statement was ‘many’ implying that there was enough of them to make the statistic unreliable for our purposes. Your sarcastic comment about the homeless being between homes was IMO offensive and uncalled for.

Thea Logica - <hijack continued>Unemployment is rediculously low here in the Twin Cities. I know personally one fellow who is a janitor/handy man. He makes $12 and hour. He goes to work drunk and stoned every day and does a pretty shabby job. I talked to his boss once who said he was the best they’d had in years because at least he showed up every day. The 1.4% unemployed are either between jobs or don’t want jobs. There are other places in the country with similar situations. In the last few years, as I have seen unemployment drop, I have also noticed a significant decrease in the competance of fast food and retail workers. The people who have the capability to do these jobs well get trained to do higher paying jobs. I have begun to miss the days of 10% unemployment. If you can’t get a job in modern America, there must be something wrong with you. OTOH, there are unemployed who don’t want to accept a job that doesn’t take advantage of skills that they have because accepting a lower salary can sometimes jeopardize your ability to get back on a previous career path. There are a million help wanted signs out there, some of them are, like you say, people maintaining an application list. By your own description, these are jobs with high turnovers that will be hiring again in the near future.

I once asked my manager at a restaurant why he put an ad in every Sunday paper when he always had servers begging for more shifts. He said about half the servers he had wouldn’t get any shifts at all if he could find competant servers to fill their positions. He would hire a complete rookie with potential before hiring a veteran who was nothing special, but would rather keep the nothing special waiter who was already trained in our system than bring on a newbie. He kept the ad going in hopes of finding somebody experienced and talented.

My point is, jobs are available, somewhat less so for people with no skills or talents, but what do you expect?</hijack>

<An attempt to get back to the OP>
So, what evidence do we have that the aborted pregnancies would have resulted in largely unemployable people? So far, there the assumption that many of the mothers were incapable or unwilling to raise them properly, supported by the fact that this sounds like a common justification for abortion. Also, there is the study that says that legalized abortion has reduced crime, suggesting that criminals have been eliminated before they were born.

Those of us who are educated generally associate with other educated people, either formally educated or self educated. We tend to expect people to be educated and ethical. This is demonstrably not the case. I am constantly startled by the incompetancy and ignorance of people I encounter at places like The Mall. If legalizing abortion has made things better, then I am glad. It would be better if the potential parents were more responsible BEFORE conception.

Can we stop crediting the strong economy to Alan Greenspan and start crediting Roe vs. Wade? Not yet, we need more evidence.

Evidence of what type? I think its clear that abortions aren’t the only cause of our good economy, but I think that anything that results in an observable reduction in the crime rate as shown can definitely be attributed with some positive economic influence.

Yeah, I was away from the computer for a bit. But you got what I meant right on the head.

I worked for over five years in the food industry, most recently while attending college just a year ago. Flexible schedule, you know? But to be sure, we were always hiring. You cannot find good help anymore, as Vile suggested. General support for my defense {say, you know a good trial lawyer? I got this problem down in Florida…)

And so it goes. But there is no doubt, even in poor people’s minds, that an abortion is cheaper than a child. It is also easier than dealing with (what some of the last honorable people in America might think) the shame welfare brings with it. I would rather starve than go on welfare, and I know many who have done the same. Including myself. Hell, we’ve worked two jobs to support ourselves.

[rant]What worries me is this topic lends itself very easily to social darwinism. And then from there we find it’s always only the rich who get to do everything. Whatever. After working in the projects for six months I can assure you, social darwinism sounds much more appealing than the welfare state. Corporations abuse you by paying you to work for them. Welfare recipients (but not all, I know how the SDers love attacking generalizations) abused me at the point of violence.


Abortions stop crime LOL, I wanna make that my new bumper sticker.

You put that on your bumper I’m not going anywhere near your car. I’ll defend you against words but I draw the line at explosives.

Unemployment figures don’t count people who aren’t looking for a job. I know people who went on welfare right after moving out of their parents house and have never worked a day in their lives.

Actually, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (a pro-choice organization, BTW), it is the middle class – not the poor – which seeks abortions the most. At least, that’s the information which I got from http://nurturingnetwork.org/article_14.htm. I’ve read similar statistics elsewhere, but I have to confess that I don’t recall exactly where.