Brazil’s Plummeting Birth Rate Linked to Influence of Soap Operas
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
BRASILIA, July 28, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Brazil’s plummeting birth rate, which has fallen from 6.3 children per woman in 1960 to 2.3 in 2000 and 1.8 in 2006, is being attributed to the influence of pro-contraceptive propaganda delivered to the public through soap operas.
At least two studies published in April of this year have concluded that the influence of soap operas created by the popular Brazilian network TV Globo explain the precipitous fertility decline.
A study by the Inter-American Development Bank, "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil", states that "women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility."
"The only other developing country comparable in size to have experienced such a sharp and generalized decline is China, where the decline was the result of deliberate government policy", states the group.
A similar study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in Britain states that "using Census data for the period 1970-1991, we find that women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and for women in the central and late phases of their fertility cycle, consistent with stopping behavior."
The recent data, which has surprised experts, indicates that fertility in Brazil is well below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. As a result, the population is expected to age rapidly, requiring a smaller working age population to care for a growing population of retired people, as the majority of European countries are experiencing.
"More than a simple revision of the statistical calculation, the verification that Brazil will have increasingly more elderly people and fewer children sooner than was foreseen will have an impact on calculations of retirement, and will bring difficulties for public policy, which must adapt themselves to aging population structure," writes the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.
The relationship between exposure to TV Globo soap operas and fertility decline is no coincidence. According to the abortionist population control organization, Population Media Center (PMC), the Brazilian television network TV Globo has long had an agreement to allow the group to insert its contraceptive ideology into its soap opera programming.
"Due to the popularity of TV Globo’s commercially-sponsored serialized dramas, PMC, along with Brazilian NGO Comunicarte, have an agreement with TV Globo that assists the writers of the prime-time telenovelas to weave suggested social issues into the lives of key characters," the organization states on its website.
"TV Globo inserts messages related to reproductive health and other issues in its most popular programs at no cost to Comunicarte/PMC. The air time TV Globo has donated to issues of social concern would have costs tens of millions of dollars within the last year alone. In return, PMC provides pro bono research to the writers regarding the themes they choose to incorporate into the programs."
The PMC is involved with soap opera programming in nations across the globe. It has offices in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, and Sudan.
The organization uses what it calls the "Sabido Method" to promote its ideology. It creates characters who embrace pro-family values, who then slowly change to the anti-family position over time as a result of experiences that occur during the course of the show’s run. Audience members who may share the views of the characters at the beginning are influenced to change as well.
Brazilian pro-family activist Julio Severo, who has long decried the influence of soap operas in his country, is concerned that the plummeting birth rate will have seriously detrimental consequences in the coming decades.
"As you know, birth rates in Europe are falling, and they are facing a shortage of young workers," he told LifeSiteNews.
"But the birth rates in Brazil are falling very fast! Brazil may face mounting problems with a very large old population. In fact, I think that Brazil will suffer a worse crisis than Europe in the coming years."
Population Media Center
Ms. Magazine Article on Population Media Center’s Work
Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil