Recent articles I've read have been bout Putin's attempts in Russia to stimulate baby making, and Germany's decades long spending to get Germans to bear more children.
This is a situation throughout the West among whites, and in Asia such as Japan. (China imposed it, but it will pay for it, too.)
It seems that when people are given the choice of making a lot of babies or a few, they choose to have fewer if they are affluent and living in societies that provide many distractions, careers, and satisfactions outside of marriage and child rearing.
Going by my own limited experience or observatory sampling of other people, I might guess that the real reason behind the decision to have 1.4 children in a country is that people don't really like children.
Steve Sailer's observations about the lack of affordable family formation preventing men from marrying young and creating children as a big cause of smaller and later families, the situation remains that I don't think a majority of people like children.
I have no numbers in mind, but I'd guess that maybe half or more of men and women are lousy parents.
My father didn't come back from WW II thinking, oh boy, I want lots of kids. It just happened because of the lack of birth control, the times, and having money to care for us. The thing is, though, my dad never really liked his children. He loved his work, but his family not so much.
He was a drinking man, not a family guy. And there are a lot of men and women out there who are like that. They are terrible at raising children because they don't remember what it's like to be a child, or recall the wrong ways they were raised, or take pleasure in the company of little kids, their needs or their perspective.
But I think that most men and women don't relate to children. They understand the demands of caring for an infant, feeding, clothing, and getting a child educated, and they do it efficiently (most), but almost purely as a chore.
Here's a tale I've often encountered. I meet a couple with their first baby at church or some function. I properly ooh and ahh, congratulate them, and ask them if they're thrilled to be new parents.
Usually they tell me how tired they are, how much work it is, how little sleep they're getting. They refuse to acknowledge that they are overjoyed at having a healthy baby born out of their flesh and the loving union of their bodies.
Instead, they are stressed, put upon, and hard at the task of it all.
Then, when their child is a toddler and I ask how they are enjoying him or her, they talk about how their life has changed, their adjustments, but how it seems worthwhile.
I will then tell them that from the time my daughter was two through five or six, I never laughed so much in my whole life.
As I scan their faces, they try and tell me how much fun they, too, are having, but I see it's a lie. They are not laughing everyday at the antics of their little one, the way she mispronounces words, the manner she has of naturally imitating you, of returning your own expressions of speech to you, of her cleverness and delightful childishness which is so thoroughly endearing.
No, these parents have none of that gushing well of delight in talking to, playing with, having the company of a wondrous small child who adores you with every fiber of her being.
I find it incredibly sad how so many of these parents are dutiful, but not present and thoroughly engaged with their children.
I have found talking to a number of these parents, that as they hear me wax joyous about raising a child, they realize they have to pretend they are experiencing the same thing since they wouldn't want to appear less enthusiastic or engaged.
Thus, I conclude that people have fewer children because they no longer have to pretend that parenthood is wonderful and what they're living for.
While I tell people that the best job I ever had was in being a dad. I can't wait for the next world and the chance to procreate again if such is in the cards (as I speculate it is).
I have also, from time to time, randomly asked people, "what's your idea of heaven?"
Some people have said, "playing golf all the time" "sailing on my ketch" "traveling" and so on.
I tell them my idea of heaven is having children to raise. Nothing could make me happier than having a wife whose price "is above rubies" and a passel of kids. I love my work, but it doesn't hold a candle to the joy I get from having a family to be with.