Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plasma TVs and pregnancy

What is it with Plasma TVs and having babies? What is the correlation between them? Well, according to what seems the majority of the population, it all has to do with the Baby Bonus. How's that? I hear, and I'm so glad that you asked.

I've told anybody who cares to listen that I'm doing an essay on fertility trends. This is usually only how far I get. Because at this stage I'm generally interrupted with a comment that goes along the lines of, "Well, if the Govt wants to stop the population explosion they'll have to stop giving out the Baby Bonus so that all those young kids having kids themselves will stop buying Plasma TVs." This comment comes from all socio-economic classes of all ages right across the population spectrum, this stereotype is uttered. And you know what? I think that most people actually believe it. Needless to say, there is not one study that correlates sales of Plasma TVs to young pregnant people, nor are there any studies that even credit increased births to young people per se.

But since I'm poking the elephant in the room and challenging stereotypes it's worth noting that the Baby Bonus was introduced in 2004 and the trend in increased births began in 2001. So, it's highly unlikely that the Baby Bonus has much to do with Australia's increased fertility rate. Secondly, it's the age group of 30 - 39 year olds that have contributed to the increased trend in births since 2001 - pulling the Total Fertility Rate up from 1.73 per woman in 2001 to 1.93 in 2008 (the Total Fertility Rate is the number of babies any woman can be expected to have in her reproductive life-span). BTW, the TFR must be at 2.1 for population replacement, so the Govt still does want us women to keep on having more babies than we currently are. And while there has been a small increase in teenage pregnancies, the statistics show that terminations amongst our teens are much higher than births, so financial incentive is ineffective in this age group as well as those under 30 years.

So, there you have it. In a nutshell. Before you hear of anyone touting about how "young" mothers are rorting the system to deck themselves out with luxury items, think again. It's a stereotype that has no basis. It's fiction - all of it. Perhaps some retail outlet that sells high-end TVs started the rumour in an effort to boost sales? Who knows how the rumour started, but from what I have witnessed, it's widely entrenched throughout our society.