In the United States, where fertility has been below replacement for about a decade, the average woman now has 1.77.
.. Perhaps the United States is becoming more like the rest of the industrialized world, where declining birthrates are correlated with a lack of support for working mothers.
.. Developed countries that prioritize gender equality — including Sweden, Norway and France — have higher fertility rates than those that don’t.
.. The world’s lowest fertility rates are in countries that are economically developed but socially conservative, where women have professional opportunities but must shoulder most of the burdens of domestic life.
.. Peter McDonald theorized that if women have educational and employment opportunities nearly equal to those of men, “but these opportunities are severely curtailed by having children, then, on average, women will restrict the number of children that they have
.. in Sweden, women were more likely to have a second child if their male partner took paternity leave with their first child, a proxy for his willingness to share the work of parenting.
.. In Hungary, she told me, couples that shared housework equally had a higher probability of having a second kid.
.. This correlation between feminist social policy and higher fertility is widely recognized throughout the world
.. fertility rates, after reaching a low of around 1.7 children per woman in 1976, rose over the next 30 years, even as Europe’s fertility fell.
.. There were several reasons for this, including substantial levels of Hispanic immigration, a high teen birthrate, and, some speculated, America’s exceptional religiosity.Since then, however, the teen birthrate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low, Americans have become less religious, Hispanic immigration has slowed, and Hispanic fertility rates have declined... rising cost of child care.. If my theory is right, though, it will keep falling unless America invests in paid family leave and subsidized, high-quality child care.. if a shrinking number of workers must support a growing elderly population, even our threadbare social safety net will be strained... survey data shows that women actually desire more kids than they’re having... the “gap between the number of children that women say they want to have (2.7) and the number of children they will probably actually have (1.8) has risen to the highest level in 40 years.”.. One lesson of cratering fertility rates is that in the modern world, patriarchy is maladaptive.
conservatives champion “family values” even as red states have high rates of teenage births, divorce and prostitution.
.. of 32 states, those with the highest percentage of high school students who say they have had sex are Mississippi, Delaware, West Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas. All but Delaware voted Republican in the last presidential election.
.. Meanwhile, the five states with the lowest proportion of high school students who have had sex were New York, California, Maryland, Nebraska and Connecticut. All but Nebraska voted Democratic... Liberals, in other words, may be wary of strict moral codes, but they want to make damn sure that their own kids don’t have babies while in high school... Divorce rates show a similar pattern: They tend to be higher in red states than in blue states, with Arkansas highest of all. “Individual religious conservatism is positively related to individual divorce risk.. One large international survey found that the largest group of customers on Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people, were evangelical Christians. And a major 2013 studyfound that men in the Houston and Kansas City metro areas were the most likely to call sex ads, while men in San Francisco and Baltimore were the least likely to... there is one religious group that is extremely good at living conservative family values: Mormons. Utah stands out for low teen birthrates, low divorce rates and low abortion rates, and it has the highest rate of teenagers living with married, biological parents.
.. the political choices that conservatives make, underinvesting in public education and social services (including contraception). This underinvestment leaves red states poorer and less educated — and thus prone to a fraying of the social fabric.
youth culture has become less violent, less promiscuous and more responsible. American childhood is safer than ever before. Teenagersdrink and smoke less than previous generations. The millennial generation has fewer sexual partners than its parents, and the teen birthrate has traced a two-decade decline. Violent crime — a young person’s temptation — fell for 25 years before the recent post-Ferguson homicide spike. Young people are half as likely to have been in a fight than a generation ago. Teen suicides, binge drinking, hard drug use — all are down.
.. It is easy to see how online culture would make adolescent life less dangerous. Pornography to take the edge off teenage sexual appetite. Video games instead of fisticuffs or contact sports as an outlet for hormonal aggression.
.. younger men dropping out of the work force: Their leisure time is being filled to a large extent by gaming, and happiness studies suggest that they are pretty content with the trade-off.
.. But if anything, the virtual world looks more like an opiate for the masses. The poor spent more time online than the rich, and it’s the elite — the Silicon Valley elite, in some striking cases — that’s more likely to limit the uses of devices in their homes and schools, to draw distinctions between screen time and real time.
.. any effective resistance to virtual reality’s encroachments would need to be moral and religious, not just pragmatic and managerial.