Thursday, January 5, 2023

The war on children. . .

The war on children has shifted its battlefield away from abortion (down over last year) to women who have never become pregnant and to men choosing sterilization to prevent becoming a father.  Right now 1 of every 6 women in their forties have never given birth.  This tracks well with the birth rate.  Amid the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the US birth rate fell to a record low of 1.6 children per woman. Though the rate rebounded ever so slightly in 2021 to 1.7 children per woman, that birth rate is substantially below the the population replacement level (2.1 children per woman).

Women are choosing not only not to marry but not to have children.  With them, men are choose the same options.   More young men are inquiring about and getting vasectomies. While this is a trend that’s been observed informally in several countries, it has particularly spiked in the United States since the Supreme Court’s decision.  This front on the war of children is moving away from dealing with the child once conceived to permanent means of birth control to prevent conception.  

This is evidence that both married and unmarried men and women are more likely now than ever before to view children as a drain on finances, distraction from life, and a reason for unhappiness in their daily lives.  While this is the view, statistics paint a different picture.  Married women and men with children are at least as likely as unmarried and in many surveys more likely to view their lives as satisfying and to describe themselves as happy in their daily lives.

Marriage and family are seen as less essential to a full and
contented life by those under the age of 30 and now that desire is translating into permanent decisions (at least on the part of men) to ensure that family will not be in their future.  Some 44% of non-parents ages 18 to 49 say it is not too or not at all likely that they will have children someday, an increase of 7 percentage points from the 37% who said the same in a 2018 survey.

If you want a short answer on the decline of Christianity, this is one significant factor.  The answer does not lie in simply more children but the renewal of marriage and family within the minds and hearts of youth and adults as optimal for them and their future.  This is not simply about the birth rate but figuring out how to restore marriage and family as a positive estate for those who at this time do not seem them in this way.  The answer lies in part with the Church but even more so with the families now and how they communicate and express the benefits and blessings of their lives as husbands, wives, and parents.

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