Is a declining birth rate a bad thing?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

My mom’s mom’s mom (my great grandmother) had 16 children, mostly during the late 1800s. Nowadays women have fewer children. Is this a bad thing? I know a great many women who did not want to have kids but were pressured into it. At the same time, the government could do more to get money to those women who want to have more kids. I can’t see how the downward trend is worrisome, except where it represents a woman who wanted to have 5 children but only had the money to raise 1.

I am reacting to this:

Fertility rates are falling in most developed countries, as increased family planning and better healthcare means people choose to have fewer children. In the US, rates plummeted after the 1960s with the advent of widely available contraception, but haven’t fallen every year. Fluctuations can track economic recoveries and declines, for example, but don’t always. Demographers disagree about what exactly drives those shifts, but are generally united in worrying that the decline is irreversible.