I am always amused when people worry about the future of the human race because birthrates are declining. I think the birth of the 300 millionth American should put any of those fears to rest.
But it won’t.
There are still people who worry about too many of us not having children and causing the extinction of the human race.
Trust me, there are still plenty of people having children, so no one needs to worry about our species dying out. Although the number of child free families is growing, we are still a minority.
Studies have shown that as education and economic status rise, birth rates naturally decline. People in Third World countries, where the population is exploding, do not have the same advantages.
In this modern age, women are more likely to use birth control to limit their pregnancies, or to avoid getting pregnant all together. Also, it is no longer necessary to have a whole slew of children to use as a workforce on the family farm or to work odd jobs to supplement the family income. Nor is it crucial to have many children to combat the effects of high death rates from childhood diseases. Having a smaller family – or in our case, no children at all – is more of a personal decision now more than ever.
Although we are still fighting for equal pay and chipping away at that glass ceiling, women have more economic freedom today than ever before. Historically, women were relegated to the home where their main role was to procreate and keep the household running. We were often completely dependent on men for our very survival.
In fact, how many of your grandmothers tell stories about saving out money from the “grocery allowance” so she could splurge on something for herself or her children? Just last week a woman was telling me that her mother had saved thousands of dollars by doing just that, and used the makeshift savings account to pay for her daughter’s wedding. Her father never even knew! Until his death, he believed that the wedding has cost a mere $3000 – but mother and daughter knew it was far more!
But I digress.
The point is, the world is overpopulated in general, and there is no reason any of us should feel pressure to procreate so we don’t contribute to the demise of our species. The growing child free community is a natural result of better living conditions, higher economic status, and increased education.
In short, we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing – thinking carefully about whether or not to have children, and doing whatever is best for us as individuals.