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Very few of my peers are having kids. My husband and I are the youngest parents at the Princeton University daycare at 31 years old. The next youngest parent is 3 years older than us, and his kid is a year younger than ours. Considering median age of first birth at the national level is 30 years old, it seems like a potential problem that the national median is the Princeton minimum. 

I wonder what the birth rate is specifically among American parents with/doing STEM PhDs. I'm guessing it's extremely low for people under the age of 45. Possibly low enough to raise concerns about how scientists are not procreating anymore.

Most birth rate statistics I've seen group doctorates in with any professional degree other than a masters, so it's hard to tell what's going on outside anecdotal evidence. For example:

Princeton is raising annual stipends to about $45,000. Two graduate student parents now have a reasonable combined household income, especially if they can live in subsidized student housing. I wonder if this will make a big difference in Princeton fertility rates. 

On the other hand, none of my NYC friends making way over $90,000 have kids, so this might be a deeper cultural problem. 

To be clear, I don't think people who don't want to have kids should have them, or that they're being "selfish" or whatever. But societies without children will literally die, so it's concerning that American society has such strong anti-natal sentiment. Especially if it's the part of American society with some of the smartest people who are more motivated by truth seeking than money. 

I think we're still the youngest parents at daycare, a year and a half after I initially posted this.

CNN reporting US fertility rates dropping to "lowest in a century". Seems bad:

Some of this seems to be inherent to a modern society (High birth rates in past society were because of high mortality rates, women being treated as baby factories, etc.), but in my own experience the reason the birth rate is so low is that people simply can't afford to have children.

 In Japan and South Korea, the "salaryman culture" is such that employees are expected to devote their entire lives to their employers, to the extent of sleeping in the office at times. Needless to say, this makes it extremely difficult to have a relationship.

 In short, wealth inequality and a society that's entirely focused on the generation of profit will both cause catastrophically low birth rates. I may be biased here, but then again it's exactly these situations that convinced me that our current economic system has outlived its usefulness.

One (probably awful) idea I've been playing around with is scaling up parenting. 

Say, find some good people (maybe couples) who care about education and love raising kids, and fund them to raise a lot of kids with strong genetic potential. 

There may be ways to raise them to be great people (e.g. this Future Perfect piece) and with devoted parenting it might be possible to raise them to be "expert do-gooders" (thinking of the Polgar sisters).

I had a great time at EAG! The organizers kicked ass, I'm sure it was a ton of work and I was really impressed by the entire thing. Here are some quick ideas on how to make upcoming EAGs even better:

  1. Reserve one room for low-barrier conversations. In this room, there should be a bunch of tables surrounded by a bunch of chairs. The rules are: anybody can sit in any open chair and join any conversation. This space provides a place for new people who don't know anybody at the conference to always have "something" interesting to do, instead of waiting around awkwardly for their next talk or meeting. It also seems like a cool way to meet a bunch of people quite quickly. 
  2. Higher profile/more senior career people who get a lot of 1:1 meeting invites from junior people who they don't have time to meet with should hold office hours. By office hours, I mean they should choose one of the chill hangout spaces, tell everybody who wants to meet with them where they are, and plant themselves there for an hour or two. This allows them to see a bunch of junior people simultaneously, as well as allows people with similar niche interests to meet each other. 
  3. At some point somebody published a spreadsheet of all the attendees, I think to get around swapcard shenanigans. I actually found the spreadsheet SUPER useful, and easier to navigate than swapcard. Maybe this spreadsheet could be made available next time too? 
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