The Death of Birth — Our Dismal Fertility Rates

Through Collapsed Fertility Rates, We Are Self-Exterminating

Archive for the 'Breakdown of Traditional Male-Female Relations' Category

United Kingdom: Breakdown of Male-Female Relationships and the Devastation of Society

“Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the Women’s Movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage.”
— Sheila Cronan, Radical Feminism “Marriage,” Koedt, Levine, and Rapone, eds., HarperCollins, 1973, p. 219

Recent events have addressed the breakdown of male-female relationships and the resultant impact on society in the United Kingdom.

On April 4, Justice Coleridge, a Family Division judge in Wales and England, described family breakdown as “cancerous,” and stated, “almost all of society’s ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life.”

Coleridge also said, “We are experiencing a period of family meltdown whose effects will be as catastrophic as the meltdown of the ice caps.” He added that the threat to society is as great as that posed by “terrorism, street crime or drugs.”

The judge lay the blame for the calamity largely at the feet of the government, asking and then answering, “What is government doing to recognize and face up to the emerging situation? The answering is ‘very little and nothing like enough.’”

Needless to say, the government quickly defended itself with the declaration that “70% of families are headed by a married couple.”

Seventy percent. That means that nearly one in three families are not headed by a married couple. For insight into the significance of this fact, consider Justice Coleridge’s statement, “I’m not saying every broken family produces dysfunctional children but I am saying that almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family.”

The salient point is that a 30% rate of broken families is enough to produce most social ills. And marriage is in free fall in the UK. According to recently released statistics from the Office for National Statistics, marriage rates in England and Wales have collapsed to their lowest level since nuptial record keeping began there in 1862, nearly 150 years ago.

In terms of raw numbers, this was the fewest marriages since 1895.

The dramatic decline since 1951 can be seen in the following graph.


Note that this figure shows the number of marriages. The fall in marriage rates has been greater, because the population has grown over this period from about 50 million in 1951 to 60,587,300 in mid-2006.

An associated collapse in birth rates is reflected in the following population pyramid.


Current social systems require a pyramid with a relatively large base decreasing to a point at an age above 80. Instead of this, the United Kingdom’s population pyramid displays a dangerous roughly cylindrical structure with a falloff above the age of 60.

The UK’s aging population is the result of declines in both the mortality rate and total fertility rate. This has led to a declining proportion of the population under 16 years-old and an increasing proportion 65 and over. Very soon, a relatively small number of younger adults will have to support a large elderly cohort. This will make it more difficult to afford children, and the society could fall into a death spiral with even fewer youths to support the elderly while trying to afford children.

Marriage is disappearing in the United Kingdom. The country is rapidly aging. Social systems will soon be unsustainable at anything near their current level. And, in the words of Justice Coleridge, the government is “fiddling while Rome burns.”

Fertility Rates and the War Against Marriage I

“We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” — Robin Morgan, former Ms Magazine editor.

“If women are to effect a significant amelioration in their condition, it seems obvious that they must refuse to marry.” — Germain Greer, renowned feminist.

Anyone who was around during the 1960s and -70s knows that feminism had a decided anti-marriage bent. The movement depicted the traditional family as a system in which men oppressed women and children; never mind the demanding and sometimes life destroying sacrifices that husbands and fathers made to provide for those whom they allegedly oppressed.

Since that time, co-habitation, out of wedlock childbearing, and skyrocketed divorce rates have become hallmarks of our culture. At the same time, fertility rates have fallen drastically from the highs achieved during the formation of the baby boom generation – those born from 1946 through 1964.

It might seem obvious that married couples, on average, have more children than unmarried couples or single women. Assumptions, however, can be far from accurate, so it’s worth seeing the extent to which research supports the contention. The following graphs are based on data from the US Census Bureau 2004 “Fertility of American Women: Current Population Survey – June 2004.”


All races, ages 15 to 44: Percent by number of children. “Married” indicates women who have ever been married. “Unmarried” indicates women who have never married.



One set of values alone emphasizes the extreme difference in fertility rates between ever married and never married women. Nearly 80% of women who have never married have no children. Of those women who have ever married, less than 20% have never had a child. The category of no children is the only group in which never married women dominate.

In the categories of one, two, three, or more children, married women dominate. The following graphs show that this is true across racial demographic groups.


Non-Hispanic Whites, ages 15 to 44: Percent by number of children. “Married” indicates women who have ever been married. “Unmarried” indicates women who have never married.



Blacks, ages 15 to 44: Percent by number of children. “Married” indicates women who have ever been married. “Unmarried” indicates women who have never married.



Asians, ages 15 to 44: Percent by number of children. “Married” indicates women who have ever been married. “Unmarried” indicates women who have never married.



Hispanics, ages 15 to 44: Percent by number of children. “Married” indicates women who have ever married. “Unmarried” indicates women who have never married.



In their 2002 report, “Why Men Won’t Commit,” Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe of the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers, reported ten major reasons that men are turning away from marriage in what has come to be known as the “Marriage Strike.” These reasons include:
1.“They can get sex without marriage more easily than in times past.”
2.“They can enjoy the benefits of having a wife by cohabiting rather than marrying.”
3.“They want to avoid divorce and its financial risks.”

Based on my personal experience discussing this matter with young men, it should be added that many men avoid marriage and fatherhood due to a fear of losing contact with their children after divorce. Recent reports by the Census Bureau show that households composed of married couples have fallen into the minority (49.7%).

With men now responding to, among other things, high divorce rates and what they perceive as extreme, anti-male bias in family courts, some people, at least, are starting to get full measure of what they have sought for years – the destruction of traditional marriage.

At the same time, society has experienced a dangerous collapse of fertility rates.

The Elephant in the Room I: The Dangerous Practice of Ignoring Men’s Role in Fertility


As reported in the New Zealand Herald , when it comes to childbearing, a significant gap exists between women’s hopes and realities in New Zealand. According to a study performed by Bill Boddington and Robert Didham of Statistics NZ, one in six of the women born in 1965 have never had a child. The analysts report a relentless increase in childlessness from 8% among those born in the 1930s to 17% among those who have their 42nd birthday this year. If current trends persist, according to the researchers, 25% of women born in 1975 will never have a child, despite the fact that 90% of 20-something women and 87% of those in their 30s have already had or would like to have kids.

As is often the case with such studies, a strong correlation has been found between, on the one hand, low fertility rates and, on the other hand, cohabitation, women’s paid employment, and first births at a later age. Of those born during the 1940s, less than 10% of women under 25 had ever lived with a partner. For those born during the 1960s, the rate rose to 60%. In addition, less than 30% of working age women in 1956 were engaged in paid work. By 2006, this proportion had risen to 60%. According to census figures released this week, the rate of working age women employed full-time rose from 37% to 41% during just the last decade. Two-thirds of women interviewed by Janet Sceats stated that they considered career-impact before deciding to have children. (Sceats, with co-authors Professor Ian Pool and Arunachalam Dharmalingam, has written “The New Zealand Family From 1840: A Demographic History.”)

A 2005 Fertility NZ survey of 1048 women revealed that 84% of women said that their 20s were the optimum age for child bearing. Despite this fact, two-thirds of women in their 20s and nearly half those in their 30s stated that they weren’t ready to have children. Since 1970, the mean age for first childbirth has gone up 5.6 years.

Pool and Sceats note that New Zealand’s current fertility rate remains near 2.0 children per woman, because of the significant number of women who are now in their early 30s — the age cohort with today’s highest birth rate. As those women grow older, however, a smaller number of women will enter this age range. Fertility rates are expected to fall to the troublesome levels seen in Great Britain, Canada, and Australia.

While the concerns of women are critical regarding fertility rates, the article in the New Zealand Herald is rather typical for what it ignores — half the adults involved in fertility. Nowhere does the piece refer to the specific interests of men. It’s as though men play no role in reproduction other than sperm donation and, in the event of most divorces involving children, household support (generally referred to, euphemistically, as “child support”). Admittedly, the article refers to the concerns of parents and of “families,” but “families” are often a woman and her children — the man, in many cases, having been removed through divorce. While it specifically addresses the concerns of mothers, nowhere does the piece consider the specific desires or needs of fathers. This is in spite of the fact that, according to the survey by Fertility New Zealand, 91% of women without children said that a stable relationship was a key factor in deciding to have a child; 68% said the same of a male-partner’s career; yet 24% were not even in a relationship.

According to an article on the Radio New Zealand website (not archived), Pool states that “improvements to maternity leave… should all be made to help the fertility rate.” There is no mention of paternity leave. It should be noted that “parental leave” is often maternity leave with no such leave assured for fathers. The danger in this should be clear, since studies (for example: The State of Our Unions 2002: Why Men Won’t Commit ) show that men have started to turn away from marriage and committed relationships due to their own considerations. These concerns include, but certainly are not limited to, presumption of joint custody in the event of relationship breakdown and a legal say in the continuance or termination of pregnancies within marriage.

An article in Australia’s Daily Telegraph provides anecdotal evidence regarding this point. The essay relates several tales of men hesitating to commit to marriage. (The piece claims that men want to get married but don’t know it, though it offers no evidence to support this contention.) An example can be seen in the following excerpt.

My newly engaged friend had been living with her boyfriend for three years anticipating an imminent proposal.

When another birthday passed with nothing of the sort, she packed her bags and cleared out, leaving a five-page letter on his pillow demanding he marry her or she’d never return.

She was careful to point out how he’d never find anyone like her, and he’d be desperately lonely on his own.

Two long weeks passed, and she feared the worst until he e-mailed with: “Alright, if it means that much to you.”

Are these the words of a man who wants to get married but doesn’t know it? Or are other forces at work?

Another example of ignoring men’s interests can be found in this opinion piece  from Australia, “Encouraging women to have more babies.” In the essay, men are mentioned only twice (once parenthetically). They hardly play a role.

The continued disregard of men’s concerns, regarding partnering and parenthood, will only exacerbate the collapse of fertility rates. Clearly men are walking away from many social roles, as can be seen in their plummeting percentage of college students, high suicide rates, and growing refusal to marry or become parents.

Marriage is directly tied to healthy fertility rates, with spouses more likely than co-habiting couples to have children. In these days of aging and collapsing populations, societies play a dangerous game by ignoring men’s needs in regard to partnering and parenthood.