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The collapse of birthrates is a sign of huge social and moral transformations, says prominent conservative commentator

The United States is joining Europe and Japan in collapsing birthrates, as an increasing number of metropolitan areas, such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, continue to report more deaths than births.
"Americans should take a close look at the fact that in a handful of major metropolitan areas, deaths now outnumber births. In times past, this would have indicated a major catastrophe such as famine, plague, or war. But with regard to these cities, the causes include nothing to do with famine, plague, or war," warned prominent conservative commentator Albert Mohler on his blog Friday.
The Pittsburgh population has decreased from 423,000 to about 312,000 since 1980, with an approximately 60,000 person decline since the beginning of this century, according to a May 18 New York Times report that sparked Mohler's commentary.
While births outnumbered deaths by about 11,500 during the 1990s, the city has seen about 25,000 more deaths than births during this decade.
Mohler chides those who think that severe population decline is a problem reserved to Europe and Japan.
"Those same citizens are also probably unaware that America's birthrate just slightly above base population replacement is sustained at that level only by the higher reproduction rates of new immigrants – to whom we should be grateful for representing their hopes by having children."
"The situation in Pittsburgh is complicated by factors including economic shifts and a general loss of population. But when all things are taken into consideration, this means that Pittsburgh will see more funerals than baby showers."
"A community cannot survive that imbalance for long. Warnings of such developments as a collapse of the schools are not projected all that far into the future."
In Pittsburgh, hospitals are converting obstetrics wards to acute care to address the predominance of death in the city, reported the New York Times. Similarly, new scholarships have been introduced to reverse the city's severe decrease in public school enrollment, which declined from 70,000 to 30,000 over the last two decades.
Students who have maintained a 2.0 grade point average while attending four years in Pittsburgh public high schools are eligible for one of the Pittsburgh Foundation's host of new college scholarships geared towards increasing city enrollment.
"The notion is to create an incentive to stay in school and graduate," Pittsburgh Foundation president Grant Oliphant told the NYT. "The second aspect is economic preservation – to create an incentive for people to keep their kids in school or move here with their kids – to keep enough taxpayers in town."
Pittsburgh is only one of the increasing number of metropolitan cities suffering from net population loss. Whereas four metropolitan cities saw net population loss during the 1990s, ten have already endured such a loss this decade.
In addition, Buffalo-Niagara Falls and Utica-Rome in upstate New York, as well as Duluth, Minnesota have each suffered population loss this decade.
"The collapse of birthrates is a sign of huge social and moral transformations. Schools are called into question, but so are churches and other institutions," stated Mohler.
"Pittsburgh is becoming a parable of population loss for the rest of the nation. Will anyone take notice?"
Read the original NYT report:
Read Mohler's full commentary:
[26May08,  Michael Baggot, Pittsburgh, PA,]