Review of Literature
This paper asks the question: “What is more important: children, environment, wealth, or education?” This review of literature incorporates different views on how these three things ought to be prioritized.
Current Demographic Trends
Americans are getting married later and later. Several factors have led to this, including more women getting college educations, more women entering the workforce and more women thinking marriage is unnecessary (Jayson). Detailed graphs of these trends are available in the appendices. In figure 1, the trend towards marriages later in life can be seen.
figure 1 (Data from United States Census Bureau)
When couples get married later in life , they fewer children because they have fewer fertile years in the marriage. Compare figure one to figure two. During the “baby boom” the median marriage age was at its lowest.
The birth rate is the number of births in a year per one thousand people recorded halfway through the year (“Country Comparison”). The fertility rate is the amount of children born per woman age fifteen to forty-nine (Haines). The current American birth rate is 13.83 and the current fertility rate is 2.067 among white Americans (Statistical Abstract). The replacement rate is the birthrate required for a population to remain the same. Statisticians put the replacement rate somewhere between 2.1 to 2.5 (“Dearth”). The two children are to replace their parents while the extra tenths added after two are to compensate for children who die before they can reproduce.
In Protestant America, the fertility rate has been in a steady decline since the country was founded, with the exception of the “baby boom” resulting from the end of World War Two (see figure 2).
figure 2. (Based on data from Statistical Abstract of the United States)
Standard of Living
No exact system for defining a standard of living exists, but most statisticians factor in things such as lifespan, and ownership of certain goods, healthcare, and individual wealth (Steckel). These things are not what define a standard of living, but are indicators of what the standard of living is. While there is no uniform standard of living scale, it does not take a statistician to understand that the standard of living affects the birthrate. Americans have consistently grown in height and weight (CDC). The average lifespan in the United States has also gone up nearly forty years. (DHHS). The average workweek has been cut by thirty hours since 1830 (Whaples). Complete graphs of all these statistics are found in the appendices of this thesis.
“Be Fruitful and Multiply.”
God commands man to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1.28). God made man with the ability to reproduce for a reason. Later, in Psalm 127, Solomon says:
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is...