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Children are the future and we need more of them

A multi-generation Hispanic family standing in the park together. A 16 month old baby girl is the center of attention. Her back is to the camera as she walks toward her family, all smiling with their arms open, reaching for her.
A multi-generation Hispanic family standing in the park together. A 16 month old baby girl is the center of attention. Her back is to the camera as she walks toward her family, all smiling with their arms open, reaching for her. | Getty Images/ kali9

Despite the quickly declining American birthrate, now dipping below 1.7 per woman on average, the movement towards childlessness is picking up steam. Following advertising campaigns encouraging childlessness or one-child limits, celebrities are taking up the cause of choosing childlessness.

Recently, Chelsea Chandler of the Daily Caller published a video humorously describing all the positives of her remaining childless. Though made in jest, it clearly encouraged women to consider childlessness, while lampooning those encouraging women to have babies. This also follows the 100% increase of American youth now identifying as transgender, with most heading to sterilization. The encouragement towards a childless future contributes to family disintegration driving the national decline. It’s time for America to face the catastrophic end results of childlessness and turn it around while we still have time.

First, recent polling data show us the agenda pushing for a childless future is having substantial effects. At the end of 2021, Pew Research Center published a survey showing that “a rising number of childless adults claim they are unlikely to have children. Of the nonparents aged 18 to 49 who were surveyed, 44% said it is ‘not too likely’ or ‘not at all likely’ that they would procreate — an increase of 7% from 2018. And 74% of polled adults under 50 said they were unlikely to have more children after having one or two.” This comes alongside the various polls showing the steep rise in the average age that men and women marry and the declining numbers choosing marriage.

In addition to the lack of desire for children, the breakdown of the family further exacerbates childlessness. Currently, only 46% of American 17-year-olds have spent their life with the same (intact) father and mother. That number is only 17% in the African-American community (Note: 90% of African American families were intact in 1941). Importantly, children from intact families “have higher GPAs and educational attainment and a better chance at marriage and having their own children in a stable environment.” Children of broken families are not only educationally hindered but have poorer mental health and future employment. Critically in relation to childlessness, they are less likely to be married and live shorter lives.   

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History and data show that childbearing and childrearing are intricately connected to the strength and durability of the family. On the other hand, childlessness correlates with the breakdown of the family. A noted expert on families and society, Carle Zimmerman, wrote of the connection of high birth to the strength of families: “We see [ever] more clearly the role of proles or childbearing as the main stem of the family.” Zimmerman writes that childbearing itself “creates resistances to the breaking-up of the marriage.” Concluding that “the basis of (strong, enduring families) is the birth rate. Societies that have numerous children have to have (it). Other societies (those with few children) do not have it.”

Famed historian Will Durant also wrote of the importance of family to every noted culture in history. Durant described the role of the breakdown of the family to the fall of the Roman Empire, and in contrast to the strong, intact, large Roman families of the Republic. During Rome’s decline, “A large number of native-stock Romans avoided wedlock altogether, preferring prostitutes or concubines even to a varied succession of wives. Of those who married, a majority appear to have limited their families by abortion, infanticide ... and contraception."

In addition to all the other problems, with childlessness and family breakdown, the economic impacts go beyond fewer future workers and taxpayers. Ironically, data shows that married men with children are 27% more productive (with corresponding higher income) than single men. On a scale of work/productivity, single men work the least, then comes divorced men, then cohabitating men, and finally married men with children.

Responsibility of family appears to drive productivity.

As historian Durant discovered in his studies of great cultures, the critical support for families has been religion. When religion has declined, families have correspondingly declined. As he described it with the example of Rome, immorality pervaded during the decline of the Roman Empire. Selfishness drove everything. As we see in Chelsea Chandler’s video, selfishness acts as the primary motivation for choosing lifelong childlessness. Children are shown to be nothing but challenges to self-fulfillment. Christianity is the antidote for teaching and encouraging selflessness and devotion to a higher calling. It may sound counterintuitive, but polls also show that the happiest are those with children and families. Unfortunately, all polls show a steep decline in religion at the time we need it the most.

It’s time for Americans to face the reality of where we are heading with a childless future. We are chasing known destructiveness and unhappiness for all. Children are the way to a brighter future for all.

Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

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