For my growing family. But I can't take all the credit. Finally, some decent news on the birth dearth front:
U.S. Fertility Rate Hits 35-Year High, Stabilizing Population
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 21, 2007
For the first time in 35 years, the U.S. fertility rate has climbed high enough to sustain a stable population, solidifying the nation's unique status among industrialized countries.
The overall fertility rate increased 2 percent between 2005 and 2006, nudging the average number of babies being born to each woman to 2.1, according to the latest federal statistics. That marks the first time since 1971 that the rate has reached a crucial benchmark of population growth: the ability of each generation to replace itself.
"It's been quite a long time since we've had a rate this high," said Stephanie J. Ventura of the National Center for Health Statistics. "It's a milestone."
While the rising fertility rate was unwelcome news to some environmentalists, the "replacement rate" is generally considered desirable by demographers and sociologists because it means a country is producing enough young people to replace and support aging workers without population growth being so high it taxes national resources.
The reasons for the unusual U.S. fertility rate are the focus of intense interest. Experts can only speculate, but they cite a complex mix of factors, including lower levels of birth control use than in other developed countries, widely held religious values that encourage childbearing, social conditions that make it easier for women to work and have families, and a growing Hispanic population.
Some of the increase is explained by immigration. Hispanics have the highest fertility rate -- about 2.9 -- followed by blacks (2.1), Asians (1.9) and whites (1.86). But Hispanics do not represent enough of the population to fully explain the trend, and the fertility rate of U.S. whites is still higher than that of other developed countries.
The nation's religiosity also contributes to the higher fertility rate, which varies geographically, experts said. Red states tend to have both more religious people and higher fertility rates.
"Americans are much more religious than Europeans: They believe in God more. They go to church more," said Charles Westoff, a Princeton University demographer. "That sort of religious attitude or set of values is strongly correlated with fertility."
But not everyone sees that as encouraging, given that the United States remains a leading consumer of increasingly scarce natural resources.
"The world is now consuming resources faster than the Earth can sustain over the longer term," said Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute. "Forests are shrinking. Fisheries are collapsing. Water tables are falling. Large parts of the world's grasslands are deteriorating. The U.S. is already disproportionately responsible for that because of our very high consumption levels."
This story highlights the coming showdown between radical environmentalists trumping global warming and the Church that upholds and defends the sanctity of human life. Stay tuned. Today's Herods push for a carbon tax on all new children, while protecting a woman's "right to choose". More subtle than the original, but still effective.