Thursday, June 29, 2006

Australian "Baby Bonus" Causes Increase in Babies, Delayed Births

Bonus to spark new birth bonanza

Children born on July 1 or later qualified their parents for $3,000:
It has now emerged that there were more births on July 1, 2004, than on any other day in the past 30 years. And with the baby bonus slated to rise a further $1000, to $4000, from this July 1, experts are tipping another birth bonanza.
Thanks to ChrisR for the article.

In Germany, One in Four Men, One in Seven Women Do Not Want Children

Study: Men in Germany Are Scared to Start Families
In its study, the Robert Bosch Foundation found that "men are scared to start families," said Ingrid Hamm, managing director of the foundation. The study says one in four men in Germany do not want children, whereas one in seven women prefer to remain childless. In Eastern Germany, that rate is lower, with one in 10 women expressing the wish to remain childless.

The study was based on responses from 10,017 people. Researchers say the survey was representative, even of the smallest groups in Germany.
. . .
Hamm said another reason for fewer children in Germany is that people feel too much pressure. They have long career training periods and then "have to do everything at once between the ages of 30 and 40: get married, have kids, build a house, pursue their careers and save money for retirement," she said. "All that pressure makes people put off having children until later or not at all."

Women, too, are faced with a loss of economic control over their lives if they choose a baby break. For a well-to-do country like Germany, the economic loss is even greater, Hamm said.
. . .
Hamm said the study showed that having children is just one of many values among Germans; it is not a top priority. Parents with many children are viewed critically, while "it is completely socially acceptable to not have kids here."

"One's status does not increase by having kids," she said.
Of course, in the ellipses is the same assumption that everyone would want kids if the government gave them more support. They seem blind to the possibility that it is not always an economic calculation (or the possibility that, if it is, perhaps those aren't the best people to become parents).

Atheists aren't reproducing; secularism is being bred out.

The cause and effect are too obvious to point out here, but the result is an interesting topic.

A Scientific Approach to Atheism

Fertility rates in the relatively secular blue states are 12 percent lower than in the relatively religious red states, according to Philip Longman in the March/April issue of Foreign Policy. In Europe, a similar correlation holds. As Longman writes: "Do you seldom, if ever, attend church? For whatever reason, people answering affirmatively . . . are far more likely to live alone, or in childless, cohabitating unions, than those who answer negatively." For the most secular cultures in the world, Longman predicts a temporary drop in absolute population as secular liberals die out and a concomitant cultural transformation as, "by a process similar to survival of the fittest," they are demographically replaced by religious conservatives.
This article in the Washington Post is actually a book review and critique, but it beings up some interesting issues. It reminds me - a bit- of the people that point out that the childfree are going to die out because we aren't producing more childfree. Although religiosity is more directly tied to upbringing, secular culture can spread itself in more ways than just reproducing. For example, just as education and technology reduces birthrates, so can it concurrently raise secularism. The two are inexorably tied. As hunger is reduced, dictatorships disappear, and infant mortality rates plummet - basically the process of moving from a third world country toward a second (or first) - we are naturally going to see both effects occur at once.

Most secular people I know were indeed raised Christian, albeit in the puritan-yet-not-fundamentalist north of the U.S. I suppose that we could be considered borderline secular culture.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

'Natural Family' Resolution Divides Utah City

The City Council of Kanab, Utah, resolved to promote the nuclear family unit. It ended up sowing discord in a once close-knit tourist town.

So members of the Kanab City Council . . . passed a resolution proclaiming that their top priority was to protect and nurture the "natural family."

The resolution described the natural family as man and woman, duly married "as ordained of God," with hearts "open to a full quiver of children." The council decreed that such households are to be treasured as "the locus of the true common good," a bulwark against crime, delinquency, drug abuse and worse.

With rousing (if not always grammatical) rhetoric, the council promised to do all it could to promote the natural family: "We envision young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers; and we see young men growing into husbands, home-builders, and fathersÂ…. We look to a landscape of family homes, lawns, and gardens busy with useful tasks and ringing with the laughter of many children."

The resolution passed unanimously in January.
I think this resolution implies that childless couples contribute todelinquencyy. By not producing delinquents. Hmm . . .

I'm very glad right now to be part of an 'unnatural family' far, far away from this town.

The fallout divides Kanab to this day.

It started at the next council meeting, when dozens of indignant residents, some wearing buttons declaring "Quiverless," called the resolution offensive.

Now I want one of those buttons.
And what of gays and lesbians, divorced men and women, couples who remain childless by choice?

Mero argues that "society should maintain the expectation" that they will one day form a natural family. And if they don't, well, they should accept that public benefits will favor those who get with the program.

"They ought to unselfishly set aside their own experiences in life and, for the greater good, say 'Yeah, I get it. The natural family does benefit society.' I don't see what's so hard about that," said Mero, who has been married 30 years and has six children. "This is just so self-evident."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Having a child adds 40 hours a week to the workload of a previously childless woman.

Free the slaves - starting with mum
THEY are the most exploited workers in Australia, they put in a 75-hour week but get paid for just four, they get no penalty rates and they never, ever get annual leave.
. . .
The dreary catalogue of a mother's duties is guaranteed to boost sales of contraceptives and undermine Treasurer Peter Costello's push to get us to produce three of the little blighters.

Tell a prospective mother she's up for an average of 14 hours of housework a week, 11 hours feeding her baby, seven hours settling and soothing the baby, five to six hours preparing family meals, shopping and cleaning kids and only eight hours playing with them, she'd probably be looking seriously at sterilisation.
. . .
A 75-hour week paid at the minimum wage rate means mothers should be getting $47,970 a year.

And that would be if they were on a Howard Government AWA that paid no overtime, no penalties and no holidays.

On a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement, mums would be getting at least $60,000 a year.

It puts the Government's $4000 baby bonus into proper perspective.
Well, at least this article doesn't suggest that they make the combined salaries of several skilled, educated, and experienced professionals. I never know whether the people that suggest mothers deserve, among other things, the salaries of PhD'd psychologists or trained chefs are being purposefully obtuse.

So the salary figure is OK, as is the number $60,000 that the authors conclude would result from overtime, holidays, and other results of union pressure. But it doesn't precisely put "into perspective" the amount the government is actually paying them. First off, a careful read reveals that the numbers are questioned - the figure of 63 composite is also cited. Secondly, the figures appear to include outside work the women are already paid for. Thirdly, since nearly every person does housework without expecting to be paid for it, only the additional housework created by children would truly reflect how much the mother is 'contributing to society'. No one is suggesting paying me for making my own bed.

But ultimately, we are still left with the fact that parenting is not a job - it is a personal obligation that one volunteers for. While compensating poor mothers to allow them to work less could conceivably benefit society overall by reducing, say, jailing expenses later, such a compensation is still highly speculative. Additionally, I would find it hard to believe that compensation would play a major role in the decisions of the well-off (I got the impression all mothers, regardless of income, were entitled to this money) to stay home or to work. Lastly, the idea that a stay at home mom is better is still controversial - there is some rationale to the argument that a woman who is fulfilled can do just as well for her school-aged children as could one who was home alone baking cupcakes for the PTA. They also make good role models (ahem).

Underlying all this rationale is still an undercurrent of fairness. No matter what the arguments on either side, many taxpayers will ultimately feel taken advantage of if their money is funding someone else's choices through the general coffers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Whoever said kids are supposed to make parents happy?

This article is a response to a Time magazine article.

Whoever said it's my kids' job to make me "happy" right ... now?
The National Center for Health Statistics says, according to the Web resource Wikipedia, that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who have voluntarily (and presumably permanently) chosen not to have kids "rose sharply in the 1990s: from 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995." A small number but a big increase, and probably much higher now.

Web sites and books for people who choose to never have children (versus those many folks who would desperately like to have them but can't) have boomed and a new term was coined for the phenomenon in the 1990s: "childfree." Again and again, these resources celebrate people, especially married couples, who say they just want to live life on their own terms, and do what they want to do when they want to do it.
. . .
In the end, that's a pretty good way to stunt a soul - and it's no accident it's a growing American trend.

Back to the little ones. Gilbert eventually explains that with kids it's not about a transient notion of happiness, but transcendent abiding joy. In admitting that our children don't necessarily bring us a daily dose of happiness, he writes: "... Rather than deny that fact, we should celebrate it. Our ability to love beyond all measure those who try our patience and weary our bones is at once our most noble and most human quality."

And, I would argue, only when we connect to something bigger than "it's all about me" are we stretched to experience real joy and satisfaction - in a way no animal can and even when our children are behaving like animals! I'm certainly not saying this has to, or can only, come through our kids. I am saying that only in very recent years would our culture even think to pose a question like, "Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?" And that does not bode well for this or future generations.
This article does what many do - on one hand, state that it is selfish not to have kids just because kids would make you unhappy, then on the other hand point out the 'transcendental joy' of parenting. You can't have it both ways folks. If you're going to talk about the greater joys of parenting, you can't then claim that it's a selfless act that should overcome the hard, unrewarding nature of the act.

I will propose something out of this very article:"It's the wrong question to ask." Even if one were to ignore that many justifications for having children are posed in selfish terms, or fail to question the claim that having children contributes to our overpopulated world, the conclusion that nonparents are selfish still is odd.

At best, parenting is one of many selfless things people can do for the world. How come we do not have the same condemnation of the "volunteer-free"? How come we do not label selfish those who refuse to adopt instead of giving birth, those who pass right by their local soup kitchen and go to the gym instead, those who could care for a pet but do not take one home from the local animal shelter?

Every person makes countless choices each day that result in passing up an opportunity to make the world a better place. Even the most self-sacrificing can't do it all; Mother Theresa, a person society almost unanimously conceives of as the pinnacle of selflessness, chose a life without children. Those who do choose to have children commit themselves long-term to a lifestyle that necessarily precludes many other contribution to society.

The only reason that parenting gets singled out is that it is simply the default position. Stemming from biology, from an historical need to have children work the farm, and from millennia without decent birth control, the ability to choose not to parent is relatively new. And since parenting is the one 'selfless' act that the majority partake in, those who refused to do so get labeled with a harsher brush than others who pass up opportunities to help. Perhaps if we could create a term for 'shelter-pet-free' we would be able to point out the fallacy of singling out this particular choice for mandatory status.

That being said, I don't buy the 'at best' logic above. Having children is much less certain to improve society than, for example, joining Meals on Wheels. There is no lack of children, and no guarantee that any particular person will have a child that contributes to society or even be a good parent. Indeed, parenting is one means of 'contributing' that is best left to those who love it. Faking enthusiasm for four hours a week with a homebound elderly woman is possible; concealing from children you live with that you don't really like children is damn near impossible.

And parenting is perhaps unique in one respect - if you can't do it right, it's probably better for society that you not do it at all. And by the time you find out that you can't do it right, it's too late to quit. So I will instead champion those who choose to dedicate their time to those activities that are sure to make the world a better place, and to those who contribute in ways better suited. Moreover, I will champion those who realize that doing nothing is a hell of a lot better for society than subjecting a child to a lifetime of unwilling parents because that very society has not really thought through what it is asking.

Also see the Letter to the Editor.

Dear Prudence's Mommy War

A happily childfree, married reader wrote Dear Prudence for
advice on how to deal with nosy relatives asking when she'd have kids. After a brush off response to the reader's question:
Now I will join the chorus of people who are driving you crazy. You are about to get married, and as life's circumstances change, it is worth re-examining your goals, especially this one (and yes, I know, I am offending all happy childless people). You're only in your 30s—if you have children now, they'll be grown by the time you reach your late 50s! You say you love children, but as close as you may be to your nieces and nephews, that's no substitute for having your own. The people who know and love you best hope you and your husband have children—that alone makes it something worth considering.
Apparently, reader reaction was strong, many suggesting she not give advice on questions not asked, still more pointing out how bad the unsolicited advice was. In Prudence's response she attempts to address the objection to the suggestion itself, making perfectly clear that either:

1. The unsolicited advice was her attempt to justify her own lack of resolve and decision to have children she didn't want because her husband wanted her to, or

2. Her claim on being "happily childless" is either camoflauge for her Breeder Bingo response, or a myopic failure to understand she was never really childfree.
What I didn't say in the column was that I understood exactly how the young woman felt. In my 30s, I, too, was comfortably committed to being childless. I, too, had never felt the maternal imperative everyone promised me I would. I, too, looked at my friends with children and concluded, "No, thanks!" Then my circumstances changed when I fell in love with a man who wanted kids. I had to decide whether to let him go, or marry him and agree to have a child.

I knew that I hadn't thought too deeply about the implications of changing my mind when, at 5:30 one December afternoon, my obstetrician told me the baby would be born in about 30 minutes. I remember thinking, as I pushed, "Could we wait a few hours? I'll be more ready to be a mother at nine o'clock." The baby couldn't wait, and at 6:10 p.m. our daughter was born. Thus, I crossed over and became, in the parlance of my correspondents, a "mindless breeder."

Either reason would still leave her horribly unqualified for the job.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Teen pregnancy is nature's way

EDINBURGH, Scotland,
One of Britain's leading fertility doctors says teenage girls who get pregnant "behind the bike shed" are just obeying nature's law.

Dr. Laurence Shaw set off a controversy with his remarks Sunday night at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, The Czech Republic, the Scotsman reported.

Shaw -- who is deputy medical director of London's Bridge Centre fertility clinic -- said teenage girls should not be automatically condemned when they get pregnant, because females have been programmed by 2 million years of evolution to have babies in their late teens and early 20s, when fertility is at its peak.

He said nature intended for women to bear children when they are young, and for their fertility to diminish while they raise their children.

Family groups and politicians in Scotland -- which has Western Europe's highest rate of teenage pregnancy -- slammed Shaw's comments, The Scotsman said.

Recent statistics indicate abortions in Scotland among girls under 16 have reached record levels.
I love the 'evolution' and 'nature' arguments to procreation. Until there are scientists standing up there defending bands of young man roaming England clubbing boars, pursuing big-hipped women and and sleeping on leaf piles, I think I'll continue to believe that society has outgrown our baser instincts just a bit. While nature obviously has an influence, actions take place in the context of our modern cultures, and we are still responsible for our own behavior.

Mommy, tell my professor he's not nice!

(Over)involved baby boomer parents - and cell phones - redefine adulthood.

"Our students are graduating," says Jeanna Mastrodicasa, associate dean of the UF honors college. "But they are not ready to go into the real world."
. . .
They saw their youngsters as "special," and they sheltered them. Parents outfitted their cars with Baby on Board stickers. They insisted their children wear bicycle helmets, knee pads and elbow guards. They scheduled children's every hour with organized extracurricular activities. They led the PTA and developed best-friend-like relationships with their children, says Mastrodicasa, co-author of a book on millennials.
Next time a BNP says "It's our children who will care for you when you're old," you may want to point out that it's not quite certain they'll be able to look after even themselves.

Of course, I also like to point out that in that situation, I'll be paying their kid's salary.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

United States better mixes child rearing and the job market than do other advanced societies.

The End of Motherhood?

Children are now usually a conscious choice—whereas they were once considered economic necessities or religious obligations. Somehow our society better mixes child rearing and jobs than other societies that provide greater child subsidies (government day care, family allowances). Indeed, generous welfare states may discourage having children. A study by economists at the University of Minnesota found that high Social Security payments and payroll taxes are associated with low fertility rates. People may feel they don't need children to care for them in old age. Or high taxes and poor economies may deter young people from starting families.

No one knows. But by not having children, people are voting against the future—their countries' and, perhaps, their own. It is easy to imagine the sacrifices and disappointments of raising children. It is hard, try as people might, to imagine the intense joys and selfish pleasures. People ignore Adam Smith's keen insight: "[The] chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved."
Apparently, being beloved has something to do with having applesauce spat on you, and thirteen years later being told "I hate you" on a daily basis.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In 'family friendly' workplaces, singles feel overlooked

Christian Science Monitor Article
When Jerry Steinberg first started working as a teacher in Sioux Lookout, Ont., he noticed that almost all of his colleagues who attended after-hours meetings were either childless or had grown kids.
"I thought, 'Wow, all my colleagues who have children are home now, and they're getting paid as much as we are,' " Mr. Steinberg says. "All they have to do is say 'My kid ...' and all is excused."

According to a 2003 study by the University of Tulsa, Steinberg isn't the only person to notice the disparity. More than half of America's childless singles feel put-upon - whether it be because of fewer benefits, longer hours, mandatory overtime, or less flexible vacation - by their married and child-rearing co-workers. As part of his own remedy, Steinberg started an international social club for childless couples and singles called NO KIDDING!, where Steinberg holds the eminent office of "Founding Non-Father."
. . .
The problem for employers, say management analysts, is that while leaning on single staffers for emergencies and immediate assistance may be efficient in the short-term, alienating workers is never a cost-efficient strategy for the longterm.

"All the employer has to do to handle adults without children," says Joan Williams, a law professor and director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California's Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, "is to set up workplace structures that take into account that adults will have to leave. They will have to leave increasingly for elder-care crises, for child-care issues, and for ill spouses." If the employer "makes believe" that single or childless employees have no obligations outside the office, and relies on them always to pick up the slack, that can end up taxing the entire company, he says.
. . .
What's more, single adults make up a whopping 40 percent of the full-time American workforce, according to a recent study by the American Association of Single People.

Some management plans already account for the needs of single workers. For example, some workplace managers appoint a rotating worker as a "floater" to fill in for workers called away for personal emergencies, rather than have the same workers stay late.
. . .
But to say that single and childless people are universally outraged or even dissatisfied is an overstatement. Many of the single and childless people interviewed emphasized their "pro-family" stance, stressing a desire for equity - rather than better treatment.

This article oddly seems to conflate the childless with the single . . . but considering the source, perhaps it can be overlooked in favor of the overall rather balanced nature of the article.

I suppose that many married childfree workers get perks their unmarried counterparts don't - such as subsidized spousal healthcare. However, I have not heard many stories of them getting cut extra slack in terms of hours, etc. I'd be interested to hear if childfree marrieds' outside commitments are more readily honored.

It mentions the 'cafeteria plan' alternative some employers are using to make sure all workers get equally valuable benefits. I do love that idea, because we can claim rights for fairness without appearing to be childhaters by advocating the end of maternity leave, daycare, etc. It is interesting that so few Americans have a problem with different levels of benefits that are the norm here. They amount to different levels of compensation for the same (or even less) work.

Where's a good red scare when you need it?

Besides, if we're going to implement a scheme compensating workers according to their need instead of their work, there are a lot more factors to consider tan just whether one has children. If the idea was carried to its natural extension, one would have to look at familial background, bills related to ailing parents, those who have higher mortgages because they live in more expensive neighborhoods, and whether ones spouse is a gambling addict.

If you're going to implement a socialist regime, you need to go whole hog.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Being a parent is bad for your blood pressure

Tests carried out on more than 2,500 people from Edinburgh and Glasgow have shown that parents are more likely to suffer from high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.

Of those people with children, 53% suffered from high blood pressure, as against 41% of those without children. Similarly, parents suffered from around 6% more cholesterol.
. . .
[T]he difference in cholesterol levels between those with children and those without could be explained by the lifestyle choices parents make in comparison to childless couples.

"People without children are more likely to go to the gym and eat healthily," he said.

"Harassed mothers with young children are more likely to be in too much of hurry to do that and may even be eating the kind of food their children like, which tends to be higher in fat and salt."

Friday, June 09, 2006

No Kidding! 5th Annual Convention makes news

Weekend America is airing a radio segment on Saturday, June 10 covering this year's NK Festival in Toronto. (scroll to "featured in hour two") Find a station near you that is airing the segment - there are well over 100. Afterward, it will be podcast from the site.

No Kidding
There's a conference this weekend in Toronto called the "5th Annual Child-Free Festival." It's for people who don't have kids and are adamant about keeping it that way. Vincent and Laura Ciaccio will be there, as they have been for the past five years. Married and in their 20's, the two decided when they were dating that they didn't want to have children. Weekend America's Barbara Bogaev talks with them about their decision.

A Life Without Kids
Professor David Barash is not entirely surprised by people like Laura and Vincent, making the decision not to have kids. He's an evolutionary biologist who studies how living things reproduce. Barbara Bogaev and Bill Radke talk with him about free will and this latest trend against what some see as a biological imperative.
I'm not sure whether it will be apparent when the segment airs, but Vincent and I were 440 miles apart when taping. Interestingly, when we were first dating, we had a course together in undergrad that used Prof. Barash's textbook.

¿Un mundo libre de chicos?

An article in Argentina's Para Ti discusses the childfree. Watch and see what happens when you don't use professional translators.

Ya están dando que hablar en todo el mundo: los childfree. Son un grupo de personas que lucha por su derecho a vivir en un mundo sin chicos. Ya tienen barrios cerrados, shoppings y restaurantes prohibidos para menores. ¿Un costado de la intolerancia del siglo XXI o un justo reclamo de quienes quieren vivir sin gritos, llantos y corridas?
My translation:

They have already given us something to talk about in all the world: the childfree. They are a group of people that fight for the right to live in a a world without children. They have already closed neighborhoods, malls, and restaurants, prohibiting minors. A flank of intolerance of the twenty-first century or simply a reclamation by those who want to live without screams, cries, and running?
. . .

Feos, sucios y malos
En los países del Primer Mundo, a los CF los acusan de ser los responsables de la tasa de natalidad regresiva. También, se los considera egoístas. Vincent Ciaccio conoce ese estigma: “Mis propios padres decían que los childfree eran gente egoísta, que odiaban a los chicos o que no amaban a sus esposas lo suficiente como para tener hijos con ella”. Según él, la mayoría de la gente dice que “los CF estamos todo el tiempo divirtiéndonos. Pero no es así. Algunos son voluntarios en sus comunidades o siguen estudiando. Hay algo más: muchos dedican su tiempo a los chicos de los otros: son tutores, entrenadores, maestros. Creen que somos ricos porque no gastamos lo que gastaríamos si tuviéramos hijos. Lo único que tenemos es la espontaneidad de decidir hacer cosas. Nuestra vida no es muy diferente de la de los demás”.
My translation:

Ugly, dirty and bad.
In first world countries, the CF blame the people in charge for the rate of pro-natalism. Also, they are considered egotistical. Vincent Ciaccio knows the stigma: "My own parents decided that the childfree are egotistical people, who hate children or don't love their spouses enough to have children with them. He continues, most people say that "the CF are having fun all the time. Not so. Some volunteer in their communities or continue studying. There is something else: many dedicate their time to other people's children: they are tutors, coaches, teachers. They believe they are rich because we do not spend what we would spend if we had children. The only thing we have is sponteneity to decide what to do. Our lives are not very different from that of others.
Since I'm married to Ciaccio, I'll let you in on a little secret. Here's what was actually said:

(On whether or not Ciaccio feels discriminated against by parents)

"Personally, I have not felt much discrimination by parents. I am still young, so they might not be expecting me to have children yet. Also, I am a man. Women tend to get more criticism about not having kids than men do."

(On how discrimination by parents against the childfree manifests itself)

"Many parents say negative things about people who have no kids. They call child-free people selfish, or they say that we hate children, or do not love our spouses enough to have children with them. They judge us harshly for our choice."

(On whether the childfree are selfish, living lives where having fun is the only thing that counts, and that they spend their days going from party to party)

"They don’t know the same childfree people I do. The childfree people I know enjoy their free time, but they don’t spend it partying all the time! Many volunteer in their communities. Some spend their time advancing their careers, or furthering their education. Many of the married childfree get to focus more time on their spouses.

It’s important to recognize that many childfree people dedicate their time towards other people’s children. Some are teachers, tutors, coaches, or mentors. They have the time to dedicate themselves to the children in the community because they’ve decided not to become parents. They are clearly not making a selfish choice."


That initial sentence could go either way - my translation could also be off.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New novel with childless-by-choice protagonist

Baby Proof

The book has come out, so I have no idea whether they "Bingo" the ending. It doesn't appear so from the description.

If you'll recall, the book No Kidding is another work of fiction about a childfree woman.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Scotland Suffers Sperm Shortage

National shortage of sperm donors leads to suspension in fertility treatment
New laws, which mean donors can be traced by any offspring, has led to the drastic shortage.. . .The new legislation, introduced in April, which means anyone born as a result of sperm donation could track down their biological father, has virtually wiped out sperm donors.
Have they checked the dormatories? I hear they have a surplus.
A situation like this in America would pit two contingents against each other - those advocating for children's rights and those advocating the boom in fertility treatments. It seems like such a head to head would be win-win for the childfree. keep in mind that even unwilling fathers are forced to pay child support in America.

We have Fodder.

Yet another article on the depression study. This one, published in the Odessa American mentions the childfree.

The findings add fodder to a growing movement of self-proclaimed child-free couples who choose not to have children. The number of voluntarily childless women rose from 4.9 percent in 1982 to 6.6 percent in 1995 and dipped to 6.2 percent in 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Groups like No Kidding! and ChildFree populate the Internet.
. . .
In contrast to past research, even empty-nest parents were not happier than adults who never had children, they said. Everything we did showed that parents did not fare better, said Evenson. I guess for non-parents, maybe there is some feeling of reassurance. It is OK not to have children.
Of course, they have to add the requisite paragraph about how parents are only unhappy because the childfree is not handing over mosubsidizeto subsudize them. Lovely.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Japan's fertility rate has sunk to a new low for the fourth year running.

Japan fertility hits record low

Correspondents say the fall indicates the government's efforts to encourage more births have been unsuccessful.

Japan's falling birth rate could affect the national social security system, which is already suffering from a shortage of funds for pension benefits.

The country has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

Perhaps social security systems should not be built like pyramid schemes. I wonder who noone ever offsets those predictions with the other effects on the economy, such as school funding and future healthcare.

There is a Related Article on CNN:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, a front-running candidate in the race to succeed Koizumi when he steps down in September, highlighted the consequences of the low birth rate.

"The trend towards having fewer children will have grave impact on the economy and society as it slows economic growth, increases the burden for social security and taxes, and reduces the vitality of regional society," he told a news conference.

Get pregnant in two years, or I'm divorcing you.

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I have a huge problem. I met my husband when I was 13. We married at 21. From day one, he knew I did not ever want kids. He figured I would change my mind, and one day I would have one. Well, I'm 25 now, and I still don't want kids. I will not change my mind.

He has now given me an ultimatum. Either I get pregnant within two years or he wants a divorce. I love my husband, and I'd do anything for him -- but I do not want kids! Should we just divorce now and get it over with, or should I stick it out for two years hoping he won't leave me? -- DON'T CALL ME MOMMY, SLIDELL, LA.

DEAR DON'T CALL: You might as well separate now, because if your husband wants children, he has the right to have them. He just picked the wrong girl to marry.

Your letter is a perfect example of why premarital counseling is so important for couples before they marry -- to make certain both parties are "on the same page" about what they expect from the marriage and each other.

Three is the new two. And in some towns -- especially affluent ones -- four or more is the new three.

Full House

National birth statistics show a small but steady uptick in the number of American women having three children in recent years, leading parents and pediatricians alike to talk about how "three is the new two." In 2004, 28 percent of all American births were to mothers who already had at least two children, up from 26 percent in 1995, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Specifically for women having their third child, the rate was nearly 10 percent higher in 2004 than it was in 1995. More surprising, in many affluent towns teeming with families managed by highly educated stay-at-home moms, three is far from the end point. Around Wellesley these days, four feels like the new three.