For decades we have heard that the world is over populated, having children is bad for the environment and we are running out of natural resources. Culture is pushing our focus to care more about recycling, saving endangered species and having a fabulous career. It’s easy to get caught up, promising you’ll be content after the next raise, after the new beautiful car you’ll be able to get next month. It’s easy to push back more important life choices until next year. Such as having children.
There is an ever growing trend for women not to have children, not necessarily for the Earth’s sake, but because of their career. Anastasia de Waal, director of family and education for Civitas said, “These women are marrying their careers, and not marrying and having children.
If they do choose to get married rather than cohabite or remain single, they are waiting longer. A Rutgers University report from 2008 states that the median age for a woman’s first marriage has risen to about 26 from the 1970 median of about 21. Additionally, women who have earned a four-year college degree or higher may not be getting married until nearer the age of 30.
Since single women are almost five times less likely to have children, and those cohabiting are almost twice less likely to have children then married women, the fertility rates are dropping severely.
Since women are getting married later, they are postponing having children by default, or even abstaining completely. “In 1970, 71 percent of married women had a first birth within the first three years of marriage. By 1990, the percentage had fallen to 37. Consequently, married women today spend a greater number of ‘child-free’ years before they become mothers,” the Rutgers study reports.
Women are not as willing to give up the careers they have worked for years to establish to have children. “We have not got the balance right between wanting children in our society and wanting to work.” De Waal said.
The goal is to not eliminate women from the workplace, but to create a society where having children is not looked down upon. Women are better educated and more successful in the workforce then any other time in history, which is not a bad thing. The negative side effect of this is that women believe they have to choose between having a career and having a family.
Studies are showing that lower fertility rates are harming the world economy rather then helping. Countries such as Russia, China and Japan who previously had incredibly strict laws regarding family size are realizing this troubling fact and now trying to reverse the damage. The governments of these countries are now offering monetary compensation for families having more then one child. China is having a bride shortage, as you can read about in this weeks UFI alert in “The Tragedy of China’s “Bare Branches”