U.S. births are at their lowest since the 1920s, according to a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
According to Don Feder, communications director for the World Congress of Families, fewer births now means fewer people to have babies later, fewer workers to support our advanced industrialized economy, and fewer workers paying into pension systems to support the elderly, among other things, which could eventually lead to a rationing of health services for the aging and, the end result, euthanasia.
There are the obvious reasons why the country’s birthrate is declining, Feder said, including an increase in the number of abortions, the use of contraceptives, and cohabitation (fewer marriages equal fewer children). But he added that there are also some not-so-obvious factors.
“There are more single people than married for the first time in history,” said Feder. “More people, men and women, are staying in school longer, which also depresses the birthrates. We have a failure to form families.”
And even when couples do wed, a lot of young people decide to not have kids until they’re settled in life, Feder said. “That’s a description for a one-child family.”
Yet, out of all of the contributing factors to low birthrates in the United States, growing secularism—one-in-five adults claim no religious affiliation, an October Pew study found— is perhaps the most striking reason, one that influences all others.
“I’ve yet to encounter a family with more than three children that didn’t have a firm foundation in faith—be it Catholicism, evangelical Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, or Mormonism,” Feder said. “All of these faiths recognize the centrality of family. All understand that procreation is a commandment, not a lifestyle choice. All support parental responsibility and authority.”