How Global Birthrates Could Bounce Back

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How Global Birthrates Could Bounce Back

Post by Cleon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:44 am

http://www.livescience.com/42918-birthr ... ility.html
Before the advent of reliable contraception and relaxed social roles for women, pretty much everyone had lots of children. For the last two generations or so, children have been a choice, and families can grow according to their preferences. (Economics explain some, but not all, of people's family size choices, research finds.) [The History and Future of Birth Control: 12 Tales]

As a result, a new correlation has emerged: People from small families tend to have only a few kids, and people from large families tend have large broods. Kolk and his colleagues wanted to know what effect this correlation would have on the fertility rate in the long term.
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Actually, I've been thinking about this on a personal level. This has certainly played out in my personal experience. I counted up 75 living direct descendants from my dad (he's is still alive). Family get-togethers can be huge! This was a shock to my wife when we first got married. On her side, a family of with two children was considered large with no children being the choice of many. She's the anomaly in her family now. And with fewer and fewer on her extended side remaining, finding heirs for property and someone to care for the elders has become an issue. And then I began thinking about what it might be like when I'm old and have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That will great.
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Post by gravel » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:50 am

Can you feeeeeel the lovvvve toniiiight?!

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Post by mont974x4 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:22 am

You see, when a boy pipe smoker and a girl pipe smoker love each other veeerrry much......
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Re: How Global Birthrates Could Bounce Back

Post by tuttle » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:04 am

Cleon wrote: And then I began thinking about what it might be like when I'm old and have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That will great.
Yeah, that's pretty cool. I read an article a few days back on why you should have 6 kids and that was one of the reasons they gave. Seems a pretty good reason to me.
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Post by mont974x4 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:52 pm

My first grandson was born this past November. It is pretty dang awesome.
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Post by Ethell » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:02 pm

I seem to remember an Op-Ed in the Washington Post a number of years back that talked about this very thing. The current large families will be the genesis of future large families. Their "concern" at the time, if I remember right, was the coming backswing of a patriarchal majority. Their definition of patriarchal is foggy at best, but I think they basically meant, large families with a family-centered lifestyle.

So if that's what's coming, bring it on! Certainly of all the families we know that have lots of children their children seem to have "caught the bug" and are also having large families.

You should see my girls pretend baby dolls. It's not enough for each girl to have a couple of dolls, they have to round up every doll in the house just so each girl can have 5 or 6 children!

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Post by serapion » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:09 pm

Hasn't this always been the Catholic (and for that matter Muslim) strategy? Out-reproduce 'em. Don't knock it till you've tried it! It works.
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Post by Cleon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:23 pm

Ethell wrote:I seem to remember an Op-Ed in the Washington Post a number of years back that talked about this very thing. The current large families will be the genesis of future large families. Their "concern" at the time, if I remember right, was the coming backswing of a patriarchal majority. Their definition of patriarchal is foggy at best, but I think they basically meant, large families with a family-centered lifestyle.
I've heard similar fear mongering about Hispanics. Was the article in that context?
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Post by Cleon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:27 pm

serapion wrote:Hasn't this always been the Catholic (and for that matter Muslim) strategy? Out-reproduce 'em. Don't knock it till you've tried it! It works.
I think it's been the Christian way up until recent times. Christians give birth to Christians. It's a very simple covenantal concept that goes back to the beginning.

Where's Del? :lol:
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Post by Thunktank » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:01 pm

Well, I'm not going to wade into the debate of contraception and big Christian families who out breed all other peoples. That always seems a bit silly to me. But I will say I wish I could have more children. I wish I would have known what I know now and started earlier. My children really are a blessing to my wife and I MOST DAYS. At the same time, there are benefits to having just two children as well and I enjoy those benefits so I'm saddened by it. I feel quite lucky to have the two I do have.

But there is a real issue of quality vs quantity. I read an article the other day where it's becoming a trend for wealthy families to have big families now. It's a status symbol in that it's proof that they can afford to raise them well. On the other hand, it rather bothers me to see a poor mother at the store with children using food stamps buying dinner that comes from boxes. . .

I guess the ideal for our society in my book would be a strong middle class with an average birth rate of three or four children per married couple. That makes the most sense all things considered. But then again, I know not to expect things of couples that are none of my business.

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Post by jruegg » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:03 pm

Cue Del in 3.... 2.... 1.....
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Post by infidel » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:18 pm

We can't all be married to Michelle Duggar.
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Post by Ethell » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:25 pm

Cleon wrote:
Ethell wrote:I seem to remember an Op-Ed in the Washington Post a number of years back that talked about this very thing. The current large families will be the genesis of future large families. Their "concern" at the time, if I remember right, was the coming backswing of a patriarchal majority. Their definition of patriarchal is foggy at best, but I think they basically meant, large families with a family-centered lifestyle.
I've heard similar fear mongering about Hispanics. Was the article in that context?
I don't think the article mentioned hispanics as the main issue, but yes, that s definitely the gist. It was fear mongering that "our way of life" will be changing because "we" (the low birth rate crowd) can only recruit people not out birth them.

I'm definitely not for an out-birthing competition of winning the worldview battle. We just want to take God at His word that children are a blessing and receive whatever blessings He chooses to send trusting that if we are frugal we'll be able to support them.

And enjoy them!

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Post by Ethell » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:25 pm

Thunktank wrote:Well, I'm not going to wade into the debate of contraception and big Christian families who out breed all other peoples. That always seems a bit silly to me. But I will say I wish I could have more children. I wish I would have known what I know now and started earlier. My children really are a blessing to my wife and I MOST DAYS. At the same time, there are benefits to having just two children as well and I enjoy those benefits so I'm saddened by it. I feel quite lucky to have the two I do have.

But there is a real issue of quality vs quantity. I read an article the other day where it's becoming a trend for wealthy families to have big families now. It's a status symbol in that it's proof that they can afford to raise them well. On the other hand, it rather bothers me to see a poor mother at the store with children using food stamps buying dinner that comes from boxes. . .

I guess the ideal for our society in my book would be a strong middle class with an average birth rate of three or four children per married couple. That makes the most sense all things considered. But then again, I know not to expect things of couples that are none of my business.
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Post by mont974x4 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:25 pm

I have 4 sons. So, by virtue of the law of exponential growth I am doing my part.
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Post by Thunktank » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:48 pm

The article was good as it did seem to consider this from various perspectives. It understands the need for balance. One of these days we really ought to discuss the carrying capacity of planet we live on. It's a serious concern. I haven't said much on the subject because of Del (I don't want him to explode) and because I know several here have very large "broods" I don't want them to believe as though I disrespect their family. I don't.

Many Christians do seem to believe in the big family=big blessing category. The sciencie guy in me tends to reject a degree of that mindset. Some Christians also claim that sin is the problem with any perceived overpopulation rather than a problem being too many children. So on one hand they embrace the idea that pregnancy is almost tantamount to a supernatural miracle and on the other hand they seem to believe that humans are somehow outside the confines of nature and therefore any sort of population control that the rest of life must abide by doesn't apply to people. Curious.

The above posted article did mention the economic difficulty in caring for the aged in a population with a low birth rate. I have no disagreement there. Neither will I disagree that big families can be a lot of fun. I've been exposed to that too. But yeah, there's always the flip side of the coin that ought to be considered as well. I just don't buy any sort of universal norm that dictates that all good people must want lots of children or they just wrong!

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Post by Del » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:02 pm

Cleon wrote:
serapion wrote:Hasn't this always been the Catholic (and for that matter Muslim) strategy? Out-reproduce 'em. Don't knock it till you've tried it! It works.
I think it's been the Christian way up until recent times. Christians give birth to Christians. It's a very simple covenantal concept that goes back to the beginning.

Where's Del? :lol:
Why is everyone looking at me?

It is common in history that the life-affirming cultures supersede the cultures of death. Muslims are quietly conquering post-Christian Europe after 1300 years of failing to conquer Christian Europe.

As a personal testimony, my wife and I regret that we only had two kids. And our sons agree that they would be happier with more brothers and sisters, and less stuff. And we didn't even have a good reason for limiting our family -- it was just the style of the time, and we didn't think to question it.

As to the "carrying capacity" of the planet -- our ability to grow and transport food has expanded much faster than the world's population. We have never had more capacity to feed and comfort humanity than we enjoy now. Yet the Malthusian myth of "over-population" never dies. (I think it is racist at heart.... folks who favor population control are pretty quick to blame all problems on all of those Africans and Asians. The UN has a pretty aggressive program of reducing their "surplus population.")

I go to a parish that has several young families with four and six and more kids. They are always so extremely happy. I encourage young people to be open to that happiness. It means some material sacrifices, but the joy and love pay off so much better in return!
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Post by Thunktank » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:51 pm

Del wrote:
Cleon wrote:
serapion wrote:Hasn't this always been the Catholic (and for that matter Muslim) strategy? Out-reproduce 'em. Don't knock it till you've tried it! It works.
I think it's been the Christian way up until recent times. Christians give birth to Christians. It's a very simple covenantal concept that goes back to the beginning.

Where's Del? :lol:
Why is everyone looking at me?
Jee, I don't know. Lol!
Del wrote:It is common in history that the life-affirming cultures supersede the cultures of death. Muslims are quietly conquering post-Christian Europe after 1300 years of failing to conquer Christian Europe.
That remains to be seen. But birth rates alone don't determine the success of a civilization. Not to mention the conquerers are more often than not the biggest problem of all. In so many ways some of the Barbarian tribes of Europe are more attractive to me than the conquering Romans. And just think of the horrors we Americans did to the native American cultures.

But I wonder about your view of culture, Del. It almost appears as though you desire a sort of static culture of sorts. I think cultures change as they come in contact with other cultures. It doesn't matter if it peaceful or not, cultures change with contact with other cultures. Some cultures didn't like change so they shut off contact with the outside to one degree on another. This happened in Japan for a long time. Historic Russia had similar policies for a while in that non Russians were relegated to certain small quarters of the capital city. The local Russians liked to call the visiting Catholic westerners heretics! Go figure the Russians finally did away with feudalism long after the west did. And when that happened the Russians were like children and the next thing you know they killed their czar and embraced communism.

But anyway, I'm happy with a slight increase of my own culture. We have been influenced by culture south of the border. I like much of it and embrace it. Now if they were Muslims I would be more worried, if sharia law was on the table. But most Muslims I know are more secular than I am so I don't worry about it too much. But birth rates alone won't save Europe from change and perhaps Europe might gain something from their southern neighbors. Europe just might be able to convert Muslims to secularism faster than conservative Muslims with convert Europe to sharia law. I'm not sure that's actually altogether better but it probably is.
Del wrote:As a personal testimony, my wife and I regret that we only had two kids. And our sons agree that they would be happier with more brothers and sisters, and less stuff. And we didn't even have a good reason for limiting our family -- it was just the style of the time, and we didn't think to question it.
So why are you questioning it now? This is the thing that bothers me about certain sectors of Catholic and Orthodox culture that I have come into contact with. It's as though they demand large broods or judge harshly if you don't have one. They are bent on making happy families of one, two, three or four kids unhappy because unless you have more than four you just aren't good enough. I wonder how you really came to conclude that you would be happier with more children? How can you know this? I know a couple that wanted more kids. They had twins which raised their number of children to five. One has a serious brain condition and today their marriage barely survives the stress. Trust me, they were happier with three.
Del wrote:As to the "carrying capacity" of the planet -- our ability to grow and transport food has expanded much faster than the world's population. We have never had more capacity to feed and comfort humanity than we enjoy now. Yet the Malthusian myth of "over-population" never dies. (I think it is racist at heart.... folks who favor population control are pretty quick to blame all problems on all of those Africans and Asians. The UN has a pretty aggressive program of reducing their "surplus population.")
First of all, it's not just about people. Second of all, whether or not we can feed the whole world is subject to whether or not we will. Third, even if we do, will that change the social and political conditions that lead to the starvation to begin with?

I don't think there's a problem with middle and upper class westerners having large families. If we have stable marriages and reasonably stable incomes it's all good. But we still need to consider other impacts to the ecosystem that we cause. I'm a hunter and outdoorsman. I see first hand what happens when urban sprawl takes place. It's not what I like to see. families big or small buy homes where wildlife used to raise their families. Come on out to So Cal and I'll show the extent of the damage. It's sad. And yes, we have destroyed too many trees to build our big houses. That's sad too. It's not that I hate humanity but I do think we are smart enough to consider our impact and act accordingly.

The rest of nature has checks and balances but we humans have cheated nature. We now live longer, save more of our children from an early death and can breed all year long. We build roads and huge villages right through the land deer used to use. We don't like abortion, we don't like genocide and we don't want to kill off our elders either. Controlling birth rates and living in smaller spaces is the only logical step to take if we care about the rest of creation.
Del wrote:I go to a parish that has several young families with four and six and more kids. They are always so extremely happy. I encourage young people to be open to that happiness. It means some material sacrifices, but the joy and love pay off so much better in return!
Most people are happy with their children if they have healthy families. The number of children doesn't typically dictate that. Sure enough, some people like myself would like more children, but some families are stressed with lots of children. Yes, I do know families at my parish with 5+ kids who struggle to feed and cloth them for years while they keep getting pregnant. Sure, they love their kids but they need to stop having more until they can figure out how to properly care for the ones they have! I know other families at my parish with 5+ kids who are doing OK financially. That's fine but we all need a place to live and our freeways need to get bigger and bigger. . .

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Post by Del » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:08 pm

Thunktank wrote:But I wonder about your view of culture, Del. It almost appears as though you desire a sort of static culture of sorts.

Hmmm.... It's not that I desire a static culture.

It's more that I am acutely aware that there has been an intentional effort to advance a Culture of Death. I'd like to restore what was lost, or at least the best parts (like marriages and families and children).

But I welcome a healthy culture that loves what is good. For example, I reject the Enlightment's slander that the Middle Ages were a slow millennium when nothing much happened. The Age of Christendom was a tale of continuing advancement in human rights and human development.

The history of American culture is one of rapid and heroic advancement -- establishing ourselves on the wilderness shores, winning our independence, establishing a model democracy, welcoming immigrants, ending slavery, expanding across the continent..... Until we hit this rough patch in the later half of the 20th century and devolved into a lazy culture of sex, divorce, excessive consumption and infanticide.
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Post by Thunktank » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:32 pm

Del wrote:
Thunktank wrote:But I wonder about your view of culture, Del. It almost appears as though you desire a sort of static culture of sorts.

Hmmm.... It's not that I desire a static culture.

It's more that I am acutely aware that there has been an intentional effort to advance a Culture of Death. I'd like to restore what was lost, or at least the best parts (like marriages and families and children).

But I welcome a healthy culture that loves what is good. For example, I reject the Enlightment's slander that the Middle Ages were a slow millennium when nothing much happened. The Age of Christendom was a tale of continuing advancement in human rights and human development.

The history of American culture is one of rapid and heroic advancement -- establishing ourselves on the wilderness shores, winning our independence, establishing a model democracy, welcoming immigrants, ending slavery, expanding across the continent..... Until we hit this rough patch in the later half of the 20th century and devolved into a lazy culture of sex, divorce, excessive consumption and infanticide.
I completely agree that there's a troubling effort to push the culture of death in the form of abortion and euthanasia. I don't like it at all. I'm also aware and disgusted with the rampant sexual abuses of our culture. Yes, we need better families and good family values and those things alone would make a huge positive difference.

At the same time I think Christians are as much to blame as anyone because they haven't adapted to the times with a message that works in the times. Some modern traditionalist Cathlodox Christians treat holy tradition as though it's merely holy history! As though the conditions of the Father's time were the same as they are today and so their cultural norms are to be enshrined as a living museum for today too. No, I'm not saying we should now embrace abortion and rampant free use of contraception or the hatred of children. Far from it! But what I am saying is that we ought to consider how the world has indeed changed and what can be done to protect the good things.

But in reference to your above post. America does have it's strengths even now. And we had our ugly weaknesses in the past like slavery which you mentioned and abuse of native Americans which you did not mention. So all in all, as usual there's the good, the bad and ugly. This is the way it's always been.

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