Today, fertility rates in all Western countries are below replacement level. It’s a big problem and in this piece we zoom in on one subset of people who are contributing to it - the childfree.
Imagine a force so strong it overrides a) the will of God and b) the programming of nature. If God commanded humans to be fruitful and multiply, and nature compels us to pass our genes onto the next generation (at any cost), then any human who chooses to oppose both must have either a will of hardened steel or special knowledge beyond what god or nature can fathom. How else could they do it? Actually, I guess there is another way they could - by being weak, selfish, egotistical, easily corrupted fools.
Today, fertility rates in all Western countries are below replacement level. It’s a big problem, and in this piece we’re going to zoom in on one subset of people who are contributing to it - the childfree. We’ll explore their story in three parts:
First, by examining current fertility rates.
Second, by looking at factors that influence fertility, and which can lead people to wind up childfree.
And third, and most important of all, by exploring the broader truth about low fertility and the choice to be childfree.
Let’s get into it.
Part 1- Current Fertility Rates
Fertility rate is the average number of children born to women during their reproductive years. For a population to remain stable, a total fertility rate of 2.1 is needed. It’s probably not news to you that the fertility rate in the West is below replacement level, for example, in the US it is 1.7, in the UK it’s 1.61, in Australia it’s 1.7, and in the European Union it’s 1.53, so overall not good. Moreover, these numbers are boosted by immigrants whose children are born within these countries (or in the case of the EU, within the union). This is because immigrants contribute proportionally more to the fertility rate than do the native born. For example, in the UK, the fertility rate for native born women is 1.54 and for foreign born women it is 2.03.
Of course today, even the native born could be, ethnically speaking, of non western origin, for example, be Pakistani or Bangladeshi or Somalian, etc. Unfortunately the UK doesn’t have statistics on fertility rate by ethnicity, and statistics on ethnic fertility rates from the US, Australia, and EU are hard to come by, but in 2020 in the US, the fertility rate for white (non Hispanic) women was 1.55 versus a total fertility rate of 1.64, so it was below the average.
What does all this mean? It means that some Westerners aren’t having enough children, for example, they’re only having one child, and others aren’t having any at all, and this is contributing to these below replacement fertility rates.
If we contrast the present fertility rate with the peak after World War 2, which was 3.7 in the US, 2.93 in the UK, and 3.5 in Australia, we see that on average across just these three nations, we have less than half those rates today.
Another factor affecting the fertility rate is that women are having kids later in life. So it is theoretically possible that the fertility rate could rebound if millennials and Gen Z have two, three, or more children each before the end of their reproductive years. Millennials for example, by the end of 2023 will be 27 to 42 years of age, and Gen Z will be 11 to 26 years of age, so the majority can have children. However, since we don’t have a time machine to see if they will, or how many they’ll have, we will instead look at factors that are linked to fertility to gauge where the trend is leading. So let’s proceed to part 2.
Part 2- Factors Influencing Fertility
Let’s look at eight factors influencing fertility today. We’ll start with marriage and relationships. The majority of babies in Western countries are born to married couples or cohabiting couples (the latter is couples who live together but aren’t married). It follows then that for most, to move to step 2: having children, they need to have first taken step 1: be in a relationship. So the question that follows is - how many aren’t at step 1?
Well, accurate statistics on the percentage of people who aren’t in a relationship are scarce, and usually someone who is in a relationship but isn’t married or in a civil partnership, will be counted as single for statistical purposes (even if they’re living with their partner). However, Pew Research, the gold standard in surveys, conducted a survey in the US in mid 2022 in which 63% of men aged 18-29 and 25% of men aged 30-49 reported being single (that’s in the true sense of the word, i.e. not married, not living with a partner, and not in a committed relationship). For women it was 34% of those aged 18-29 and 17% of those aged 30-49. So there’s a good chunk of men and women in their prime childbearing and child raising years who aren’t in a relationship, and therefore are far less likely to have children. What’s also interesting is that across all age groups, 57% of single Americans said they were ‘not currently looking for a relationship or casual dates,’ so for many it’s a conscious decision to stay single.
The second factor impacting whether people have children, and if so, how many they have, is age. If we cross the Atlantic to England and Wales now, according to the Office of National Statistics, the average age of mothers bearing children in 2021 was 31, and for fathers it was 34.
It’s well known that both the quantity and quality of eggs in women starts to decline from age 30 onwards, so what this means for women trying to get pregnant in their 30s or even 40s is that it could be harder for them, and also carry a higher risk of complications arising that affect either the mother or baby or both. This could in turn influence whether they choose to take their baby to full term or have more children in the future.
So, that’s the physical side of things. On the mental and emotional side, as people move deeper into their 30s they tend to become more settled in their way of life and less open to disrupting or changing it in the way that having a child, or a second or third child demands. Starting late therefore increases the likelihood of having no children or less children.
A third factor is career. Today, a growing subset of women believe that their highest calling in life is to work in an office, chase titles and clout, run their own business, and so on. For them, career and making money comes first, lifestyle or leisure comes second, and family comes third (or even lower). This is not to say that such women don’t have children, some do, but the cliche of the childless career woman in her late 30s or 40s is a valid one. Even if some of these women had intended to one day have children, they simply run out of time, or else fit just one child in and settle at that.
A fourth factor is affordability. Some people who don’t want children argue that it’s expensive to have them. It’s true that it costs money to raise and provide for children - there’s the cost of food, clothing and accessories, furniture, toys, nappies, hobbies, entertainment, maternity leave, childcare, school related costs, holidays, and the list goes on. In a 2019 YouGov survey of childless British people, the cost of raising children was their second most common reason given for not wanting them. (If you’re curious, tied in second place was not wanting the impact on their lifestyle, whilst in first place it was believing they were too old to raise a child.)
As for the US, according to a 2021 Pew Research survey of childless Americans aged 18-49 - that’s those who said it was not too or not at all likely they would have children - the third most common reason was ‘for financial reasons.’ (Again, if you’re curious, in second place it was ‘for medical reasons,’ and in first place was they ‘just don’t want to have children.’)
So affordability, or rather the perception of it, is one of the top factors when deciding whether to have kids or not.
A fifth factor is housing. This is linked to affordability, but is also a matter of availability. In many western countries the average house costs many multiples of average yearly earnings. In the UK, as of November 2022, it is 9 times average earnings. In Australia, the median dwelling value is 8.5 times the median household income. Now, these multiples have fluctuated through time, but for comparison, it is the highest it’s been in the UK since 1876. Of course back then most people rented and houses were on average much bigger than they are today, so it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. But the issue with house prices being what they are, in an age where home ownership is something many aspire to, is that many people will put off having children till they own a home, and nowadays many can only afford to buy one in their mid to late 30s (if at all). The shortage of housing doesn’t help with prices either.
A sixth factor impacting fertility is health. People are getting fatter and sicker due to their unhealthy lifestyles. We’re also being exposed to harmful chemicals through plastics, air pollution, and the foods we eat. This is negatively impacting fertility in both men and women. According to the World Health Organisation (our favourite health body) an estimated 17.5% of the global population experience infertility. You may know people in this boat, or may have experienced it yourself. It’s unfortunate when people who want to have children can’t due to no fault of their own, and I have full sympathy for them. Being infertile due to obesity or poor lifestyle choices however, is another matter.
A seventh factor is lifestyle, not so much in the health sense, but in the general sense of what people like to spend their time doing - whether it’s working, travelling, partying, playing sports, partaking in hobbies, gaming, etc, etc. If we revisit the reasons people gave in the British YouGov survey for not wanting to have children, many of the reasons could be proxies for not wanting to impact their lifestyle. For example, ‘I am too old to raise a child’ might suggest their lifestyle came first for most of their lives, and they’re at an age where they don’t want to change things. ‘I don’t want the impact on my lifestyle,’ well that’s a pretty straightforward one. ‘The cost is too high,’ could mean that they’d have less money to spend on the things they like and want, like holidays and clothes and gadgets. Then there’s reasons like ‘I do not like children,’ or ‘I do not have the desire to have children,’ or ‘Raising a child is too much responsibility,’ all of which suggest they prioritise other things in life over having kids. In short, the childfree by choice tend to treat having children as a zero sum game - where it’s either they can have the lifestyle they desire or they can have children, but not both.
The eighth factor is ideology. There’s a growing subset of millennials and Gen Z who don’t want to have children due to concerns about climate change and the environment - or because of ‘the state of the world,’ whatever that means in the confused minds of such people. What’s interesting is that if we go by intention alone, in Britain, only 48% of 18-24 year olds and 39% of 25-34 year olds who are childless could say with confidence they wanted children in the future. I bet if I asked the same age groups in Nigeria I’d get a much different answer (probably a lot closer to 100% wanting them). Nigeria by the way has a fertility rate of 5.1. Good on ‘em.
So that’s a snapshot of present day factors influencing fertility, and there are likely others, but the takeaway from what we’ve examined is that if we don’t make drastic changes, worse things are to come. How bad can it get? That’s hard to tell, but the country with the lowest fertility rate today is South Korea at 0.78. Yes, that’s right, this wealthy, highly industrialised and consumeristic country, with the 12th largest economy in the world, and a human development index rating of ‘very high,’ has a fertility rate of just 0.78. That’s a disaster. Hopefully we never reach those levels, and indeed mass immigration alone makes it unlikely we will. Let’s now turn to the crux of the matter in part 3.
3- The Truth About Low Fertility
In my opening to this piece I suggested that the childfree by choice are weak, selfish, egotistical, easily corrupted fools. In light of some of the factors we explored in part 2, doesn’t that seem a little harsh?
Their existence has been hard won - and not by them. They’re only able to live their fickle and materialistic little lives because of a long line of ancestors who devoted their time, energy, and resources to ensure their bloodline would continue and society would go on.
Do you think it wasn’t hard for our ancestors to have and raise children? The challenges we face today are nothing compared to what most of them went through. They didn’t have disposable nappies, modern medicine, Amazon next day delivery, and Sesame Street - yet they persevered.
You tell me housing is expensive today. I’ll tell you that between 30-50% of the population of Europe died in horrible agony during the Black Death, and yet the survivors kept having children - they kept going.
You tell me that having children would take time away from your hobbies or social life, and that would make you unhappy. I tell you that your ancestors suffered through many brutal and long lasting wars, yet despite this they kept having children - they kept going.
You tell me that you’d have trouble juggling your career and raising children. I tell you that your ancestors living through the last ice age had to juggle surviving to the end of the week, with raising children, whom they hoped would keep the torch of life burning long after they were gone.
When we see things in context then - the childfree aren’t enlightened or free, they’re just spoiled. They received the gift of life (or won the lottery of existence), and now for completely selfish reasons they want to pull up the drawbridge and ensure no one comes into the world through them. And if we all followed their logic - how would society, civilisation, and indeed our species continue? It wouldn’t. Something that was so hard fought for, something that was so miraculous, something that was such a gift would be thrown into the waste-bin of universal history because short-sighted and self-important fools thought it was better to spend their time getting drunk, attending trivial meetings, and playing make believe games on their screens.
This is nothing to say for the potential we’d throw away, because where we start as a species isn’t necessarily where we’ll end up. We are a very young species with a lot to learn, and the universe is vast and has a very long time horizon, so we can play as little or as big a role in this universal story as we choose to.
But even zooming back to the here and now, people’s excuses today for not having kids are nullified by those Westerners of modest means who have 4, 6, 10 kids - or even those who have 2 or 3. If they can do it, so can anyone else. The only difference is priorities - the childfree and even single child families prioritise comfort, convenience, leisure, money, and pleasure. They’re unwilling to make the sacrifice or fulfil the duty that is paying life and civilisation forwards.
Now, does this mean that our present culture and system are blameless? Of course not. Our culture is rotting - getting worse by the day. Our system is parasitic and encourages self-destruction. We are all products of this environment - we were shaped by it starting from before we knew how to tie our shoelaces. I, like many of you, have had to put a lot of work into undoing the programming of bad ideologies and false narratives.
So to what extent is the individual who chooses to shun having children, responsible for their choice, versus the culture and system that shaped them? Well, firstly, the fact that many people around them have children in spite of the culture and system, means that the responsibility is more on them than on society. Secondly, giving up personal responsibility is a road to personal and societal ruin. Regardless of what our circumstances are, we need to hold ourselves and others responsible for our and their actions. Society doesn’t function otherwise, because anything and everything becomes excusable if we don’t. Having said that, maybe it is the case that some people need a firmer and stricter set of incentives and rules to do the right thing. Put them in an ‘anything goes’ culture and they’ll behave like idiots or degenerates, put them in a more noble culture, and they may do better.
What should be beyond argument though is that if your eyes are open to what our culture and society has become, then you should resist the forces of darkness that rule over us - don’t let fear or hopelessness, cynicism or apathy lead you to the ultimate defeat: forfeiting your bloodline. That would mean handing our enemies a total and permanent victory over us - the worst kind imaginable. Even if things are tough, we must persist and find a way to pass our torch onto the next generation.
On a different but related note, it is sad that today, whilst we face this serious fertility and demographic problem, there are people whom we wouldn’t want to have children - even if they wanted to. Woke activists and academics, and the current LGBTQ+ crowd for example, shouldn’t be anywhere near children. Nor should they have the ability to reach them through any medium - whether through our institutions, the media, or online platforms. These people pose a danger to children everywhere through their heinous psychological, and now genital mutilation, programme (the latter which can actually make children permanently infertile before they’re legally able to drive a car).
Of course whilst I’m happy for such people to end their own bloodlines voluntarily, the problem is they then target other people’s children, and do everything in their power to poison and ruin them. It should be obvious then that one of the several fixes that need to be made to get the fertility rate back on track involves giving these demons what they deserve.
The globalist system too - with its emphasis on mindless hedonism and consumerism, mass immigration, and sacrificing family formation to profit and career - must also be dealt with.
So what of the solutions then? Well, there’s things we need to do away with, like wokeism and globalism, and there’s things we need more of. More family friendly government policies would help, but they only go so far, as it’s hard to motivate a people to take action that runs contrary to their values and dispositions, especially when such action (at least in their eyes) offers little payoff and much sacrifice. Take Hungary and Poland for example. They have governments that are pro family and that extend generous benefits to encourage their citizens to have children. Hungary and Poland’s fertility rates as of 2022 were 1.52 and 1.4 respectively. These rates are dismal and lower than the US, UK, Australia, and the EU average. Bribing them has therefore had minimal effect.
I believe what will make the biggest difference is a far deeper change. It’s a return to or embrace of pro-life ideologies, or better yet, religion. I see no other way for a prosperous people to make it. Without this they become obsessed with the present at the expense of the future, they succumb to self-destructive beliefs and habits, and they slowly lose their will to go on.
Ideology or religion can counter that. Religion is best however because it’s the word of god, of the eternal, versus the word of temporal man.
But don’t we have religion already? No. We have the cultural, watered down remnants of it. Religion today is liberal, even woke. It’s a pitiful shadow of its former self. Our institutions, laws, culture, way of life, and even ways of thinking are all liberal and secular - and increasingly woke. What I mean by religion is the kind that is truly felt, believed, and practiced. It is the type with teeth. It’s the type that is inseparable from government, built into our laws, the foundation of our culture, and the basis of our way of life and thinking. I believe it’s this that can allow us to be prosperous and forward looking, without ruining ourselves in the process.
Check out ‘The West: Religion or Bust’ for more on this.
People today like to dress up as noble or enlightened their selfish, egotistical, and destructive choices, and there is nothing more selfish, egotistical, and destructive than taking an axe to your branch of life - a branch that was paid for with rivers of blood, sweat, and tears. Such people may label themselves as being ‘childfree,’ but I can think of better names for them: voluntary infertiles and bloodline killers.
Written by Arcadius Strauss.
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