COTW comes from 216 in response to MikeatMikedotMike on a question I often find myself pondering–does the quotidian degeneracy of the contemporary Western world have to bust through institutions and organizations standing in opposition to it like a battering ram against a fortified gate, or does it merely lean up against rotted wooden planks and casually walk inside?
There is also a subversive political and cultural force working to reduce fertility in the US and the West in general.
Most would say that East Asia is less effected by this subversion, yet their fertility rates are even lower. Even Iran has sub-replacement fertility, and the very purpose of the Iranian government is to prevent Westoxification.
The propaganda just isn’t as effective as we think it is. Westerners are constantly bombarded with ideal sexualized imagery, but are more obese than ever. A far larger share of voters express nationalist sentiments, but don’t vote for nationalist parties.
Psychology aside, it’s never been easier to achieve peak physical condition than it is today–equipment, trainers, 24/7 gyms, supplements, food variety and availability, climate control for optimal sleep hygiene, etc and yet most people today are the fattest, least physically capable people that have ever been. That’s because psychology can’t be put aside. People know what they want, know what they have to do to get it, but won’t do it.
Regarding fertility, while America’s realized fertility has steadily declined, her ideal fertility has not. Since the GSS’ inception, the survey has asked respondents how many children a family should have. The ideal average number of children, by decade:
1970s — 2.69
1980s — 2.58
1990s — 2.46
2000s — 2.50
2010s — 2.58
After hitting an all time low in the mid-seventies, realized American fertility rebounded modestly through the nineties and oughts, but set new record lows at the end of the teens. There is no sign the decline will be arrested anytime soon. During the last fifty years, then, when ideal fertility was consistently above replacement, realized fertility was below it.
Reason views this as a cause for celebration:
Hooray! U.S. Fertility Rate Falls to 40-Year Low
Exercising reproductive freedom is a good thing.
The U.S. fertility rate has fallen to a 40-year low, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Back in 2014, I pointed out the strong correlation between women pursuing higher education and falling fertility rates. American women today earn around 60 percent of all college degrees. By age 31, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, almost 36 percent of women hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 28 percent of men. The Census Bureau notes that women with college degrees tend to have fewer children. That’s why I concluded that the U.S. TFR probably would never again rise above the replacement rate.
Because time and money are limited, more Americans are exercising their reproductive freedom, making the tradeoff between having more children and pursuing the satisfactions of career, travel, and lifestyle. That’s a good thing.
Disclosure: My wife and I try not to flaunt our voluntarily child-free lifestyles.
The most profound thing president Trump has said during his tenure as chief executive is “the fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive”.
GSS variables used: YEAR, CHLDIDEL(0-7)