People are still freaking out over the Time magazine cover story in August 2013 on’The Childfree Life’. For every 3 business cards I hand out these days, 2 people will respond with: “Did you know Time just wrote a big article about women without kids?” Every other day, Google still finds fresh responses to the idea – or threat – of an ongoing increase of NotMoms.
While running around with their hair on fire, the critics may have missed this news, reported in The New York Times in September. The babies are back.
“The sharp decline in the country’s fertility rate during the economic downturn has come to an end, federal data show, as an improving economy encouraged Americans to resume having babies. The number of babies born in the United States in 2012 remained flat, the first time in five years that the number did not significantly decline, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.”
Experts say the birthrate rises and falls with economic cycles. and supposedly, the economy is improving. Some think that full maternity wards predict even better days ahead. A University of Pennsylvania sociology professor explained, “There’s a widespread perception that a moderately growing population is advantageous for economic growth.”
I hope they’re right. I really do. A country that passes the tipping point, supporting aging residents but with no new young ones coming in the door, is…screwed.
To see what that looks like in the real world, meet the people of La Cienega, a village in Ecuador without any children at all. Its residents have rejected offers to relocate and are prepared to remain in their hometown until they die. The youngest villager is 63. Their story is beautiful, even in its quiet creepiness, but no one wants a global village like that.
(Image Credit: Santiago Arcos Veintimilla)