How singlehood hurts societies


One web publication to add to your reading list for is New Geography, edited by the very perceptive Joel Kotkin. He has long been noting the harmful economic effects of decreased childbearing, and in a post this week on his own site he noted, “Conservatives also seem to have a hard time admitting that one major culprit—particularly in the United States and East Asian countries such as Singapore—is modern capitalism. Young workers building their careers can face consuming demands for long work hours and substantial amounts of travel. Many confront a choice between a career and family.”

Kotkin continued, “For hard-pressed low-wage workers, raising children can be even harder. Indeed, much of the decline in child-rearing in the U.S. can be traced to a fall-off among immigrants, particularly Latinos, who fared particularly poorly in the long recession.” He noted, “Social conservatives also need to champion more than the narrowly defined ‘natural family.’ Many children, whether because of divorce or diverse family circumstances, must look to someone other than their birth parents for nurturing. Adoptive parents, grandmothers, uncles or aunts or other sorts of extended-family units also need to be cherished as committed caregivers.”

Kotkin was particularly critical of the left: “Many Democrats praise the rise of ‘singlism’—demonstrated by the women in their 40s who never had offspring. This cohort has more than doubled since 1976. Pollsters like Stan Greenberg hail single women as ‘the largest progressive voting bloc in the country,’ and Ruy Texeira, a leading political scientist, asserts that singletons are critical to the ‘emerging Democratic majority.’ … Many progressives don’t seem to care much if the birthrate falls. Some green activists seem to actually prefer it—perhaps viewing offspring, particularly in wealthy countries, as unwanted carbon emitters.”

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Kotkin reminded us: “Before signing on to a low-fertility agenda, American progressives as well as conservatives might want to consider the long-term consequences. The long fertility-rate declines in Europe and Japan occurred as economic growth flagged. Diminishing expectations of the future, painfully evident in countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece, are now further depressing marriage and childbirth.”

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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