The recent article by Eric Russell regarding Maine’s death rate exceeding the birth rate was well-written, but gave readers a false impression. His article was like looking into a telescope and equating that narrow image as representing the larger world around him.

He neglects the important fact that Maine’s total population is increasing. The world population, more significantly, is increasing between 75 million and 80 million new mouths to feed each year, exceeding the current population of the United States in four years.

The decline in birth rates in Maine follows a national trend that has been under way for more than a century.

How can a young couple decide to have children, when many local employers would pay them less than 10 bucks an hour, with little or no health insurance? Why would a young person striving for a college degree choose to settle down in rural Maine, where there are so few jobs available that require a college degree?

The article was structured to reflect the generally held concepts that greater growth results in greater happiness.

A better way, less understood, is to match the number of births to available jobs. The economic numbers cited in the article reflects the long-term trend that is accomplishing just that. Like any economic issue, the law of supply and demand comes into play. As the number of new young people decreases, the demand for their services gradually will drive up wages, to the point where they can once again support a normal family.

Besides, who would ever want to increase Maine’s population to the point it was no different in quality of life than that experience in a metropolitan area such as Boston, New York or San Jose?

Steve Clark


Formerly of Waterville area

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