I was just reading an article in my national paper (Ireland) about the decline in the birth rate among white Americans and that white Americans are destined to be a minority in the near future, ethnic composition and cultural conservatism.
To get to the point she eventually came to say that the decline in white birth rates over a number of developed countries can be ascribed to feminism and secularism. She explains that feminists defer childbearing until later in life, automatically reducing fertility, which I can understand but have no idea if it's true.
She then says that 'secular, agnostic and atheist groups always have lower fertility rates than religious ones as they practice birth control more assiduously, and are more likely to choose childlessness for a number of reasons'. Now I have a very strong feeling that this is completely false and have never heard these claims before, especially since I have never considered my atheism as a factor in choosing to have children or not. Has anyone else ever come across this sort of claim before or have any information about it?
I think the correlation is wrong. I don't think atheism => less likely to reproduce, less fertile, etc.
My opinion is that more progressive people who tend to be more career oriented, secular, etc., will focus on things other than family at the early point of their lives. These people also tend to be atheists.
awesome stat nick v i knew that stat and i was trying to find the source for that number but the 2% are nuns and priest, the rest of the 98% are Hippocrates to the Catholic Church not to mention the rapeist priest who use condoms
The trend right now is for people of many types of backgrounds to delay having children. Most delay due to education and careers and this is not limited to feminists and secularists, the religious often delay for the same reasons. Unless you have underlying health issues/conditions woman's fertility remains relatively high until the mid to late 30s and thereafter begins to slowly decline as the woman approaches menopause.
I suspect that the reason that atheists, agnostics, and secularists have a lower birth rate is due more to education and income than their atheism, agnosticism, or secularism. People who are atheist, agnostic, or secular tend to be people who are more educated be it self educated or through college. People with higher education and incomes tend to delay having children and have fewer children because these people are using many of their early childbearing years to focus on education and career. As for birth control, don't let the religious fool you they use birth control too at extremely high rates. I typically hear numbers as high as 95% of all women in their childbearing years use artificial birth control.
For me personally, being atheist has no influence on my decision to delay having children. I am delaying having children due to education and career. Mentally, emotionally and physically I am ready for children but I want to make sure that I am financially ready too and to do that I need to focus on my education and career. In 2 to 3 more years I anticipate being as ready as one can reasonably be for children.
I'm not sure I agree with that entirely... I'm not thinking that a person's preference for belief really has much to do with whether or not they choose to have children most of the time. The only exception I can really think of to that is Jehovah's Witnesses, who are convinced the End is near and refuse to have children because they don't want to have to deal with babies during Tribulation.
Feminists, I know little about. Can't comment there.
One thing I do know is that there has been a rise in medical conditions that negatively affect fertility within the last 30-40 years or so. What the cause of these conditions is is still up in the air. There are a lot of theories, but it always seems to come back to exposure to toxic environmental hazards or the kinds of foods being eaten (meats and milk with added hormones; pesticides used on produce; chemicals in processed meals). One of those conditions is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I have it, myself, and it took me nearly 10 years to conceive because of it. As many as 1 in 10 women have it, but that number seems to be rising as more time goes by. I'm seeing more and more women getting diagnosed with it, and among those women, most of them seem to be Caucasian, though I haven't ever seen any official statistics on it. That has at least SOME to do with the decline, I think.
My choice to have a child really had no connection with what I believe.
I agree with most of what everyone else has said. The more educated a person is, the less likely they are to have children, at least according to the current trend. But like all the other comments, I don't think that has to do with secularism/atheism so much as intelligence. Although in the opposite case I can see it being just as likely that since most religious groups prohibit birth control and sexual education, people who fall into that less educated category tend to get pregnant by accident and bump up the birth rate for that side.
I think it's well-known that, in general, the more educated a segment of the population is, the lower their birth rate, mostly by choice. So, the stupid segment of the populations will always be growing proportionally.
That doesn't make much sense to me. China's population is and has been booming and they are pretty intelligent people. How does intelligence and the urge to have sexual intercourse correlate?
Look at what I wrote. I said "educated" not "intelligent." And by "stupid," I didn't mean mentally challenged, I meant ignorant.
If you want to know rather than relying on what apparently makes sense to you or not, just Google on "link education birth rate."
"A women's educational level is the best predictor of how many children she will have, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, based on an analysis of 1994 birth certificates, found a direct relationship between years of education and birth rates, with the highest birth rates among women with the lowest educational attainment." (source)
It seems that most religions convince their "sheep" that the best way to insure their eventual take-over of the world involves populating it, rather than converting it. Muslims, Mormons, & Catholics all preach this........catholic women wised up in the last 100 years or so............and Muslim women are encouraged to have even MORE, so they can have a couple of suicide bombers for the cause.
Anecdotally I would believe this, but from the other side - that religious people, especially fundies, tend to view having a bunch of kids as being godly for some reason. There are those that are at the extreme end of this - the Mormons, the Catholics (the ones that don't practice birth control), and believe it or not, there are many Aryan groups that believe one of the ways they will eventually win the "race war" is to have a bunch of little hitler youth.
One fundie movement that seems to be catching on is the Quiverfull Movement. There is a ton on the interWebs about this group/movement.
As a side note, I am an exception to the "atheists have less kids" rule. I've been married over 27 years (yes, to the same woman ;) ), and we have five kids (yes, they're all ours ;) ). BTW, you would not BELIEVE how many people - people we don't even know - have asked us if we're Catholic or Mormon, and if they're "all ours". I guess normal people simply can't have a bunch of kids - and the audacity of people to ask us that without provocation (other than seeing our family) has always blown me away.
Sadly, my brother and his wife have bought into the Quiverfull Movement. At this point, they've only got one and one on the way, but this may just be the beginning (brother said he wants 6). What I find really irritating about it is that they're still living with my parents. It's one thing to need help getting on your feet; it's another to refuse to use birth control while taking up residence in someone else's home at their expense. Or, fine, don't use pills or inserts or whatever... but surely a condom is fine?! Or pulling out?? Or the rhythm method? But no. Let's just burden the world with our belief that every sperm is sacred.
I hope they get a clue before they continue. And I'd have less of a problem with it if they were self-sufficient. I think it's pretty irresponsible to continue having kids when others are paying for them. Ironically, the GOP doesn't think they should have to pay for other people's kids, either... but they don't want to give them access to birth control to prevent it and/or abortion. Mind-numbing.