Childlessness is becoming increasingly common in Scandinavia, according to new research.
A study by the Denmark-based Rockwool Foundation revealed that fertility rates in northern Europe are largely declining. Not only are couples having fewer children on average, but there is a distinct increase in the number of people who go through life without ever having children at all.
Peter Fallesen, a senior researcher at the foundation, said there were a number of causes for the slump including that “society has, to a greater extent, lost its taste for having children”, but acknowledged there were likely economic reasons too. “We have fewer children during recessions, and it seems that the recession created by the financial crisis has become entrenched to some degree”, he said.
The research found that women born in the decade up to the year 1988 are expected to have an average of 1.82 children, a drop from the figure of 1.92 children per woman seen in females born in the ten years up to 1978.
According to the study’s projection’s, 21 per cent of women born in 1988 are likely to end up childless by the age of 45 compared to just 17 per cent of women born ten years earlier.
These figures echo findings reported by Newsweek last month in a piece on America’s falling fertility rate, which revealed that current trends mean many of today’s young women will end up involuntarily childless. The latest government figures in the United Kingdom, released this week, also show a similar picture, with fertility rates at their lowest since before the Second World War, and a third of births in the country coming to foreign-born mothers.
The global liberal establishment of academics, politicians and much of the mainstream media hail dropping fertility rates across the first world as a “success story” of so-called “reproductive rights” — abortion-on-demand and mass contraception use — and an increase in women having to go to work due to shifting economic realities.
However, the research shows that while around 25 per cent of women born in the 1990s are likely to end up childless, less than five per cent of today’s young women say they don’t actually want to have any children — meaning many, perhaps millions, will be left disappointed by missing out on the families they would have wanted.
Commenting on a “shocking loss” of sixteen million fewer children born across two decades than would have been the case if birthrates remained at their 2007 levels”, Lyman Stone and W. Bradford Wilcox write: “What many don’t realize is that, today, women are more likely to report that they didn’t have as many children as they wished to have—not that they had more children than they wished.”
“Indeed, the average number of children women in the U.S. report desiring is actually rising slightly, to more than two children”, remark the authors.
Stone and Wilcox, who are Fellows at the Institute for Family Studies, go on to assert that “births are falling because many women of childbearing age are concerned about the economic and social difficulties now associated with parenthood”.
“They are especially worried about the financial costs of having a child, the enormous time demands of parenting and the state of the economy, according to a survey of 1,300 reproductive-age American women we sponsored in April,” the pair notes.
Recent research published in the Lancet found that dropping fertility rates will result in 23 countries, including Spain and Japan, seeing their populations drop by more than half by 2100.
Meanwhile, projections show the population of sub-Saharan Africa is set to treble to over three billion people by the end of this century. Widely covered in the international media, outlets such as the BBC trumpeted the findings as evidence Western countries would have “no choice” but to open their borders to millions of African migrants.
Emerging Europe took a particularly strong line on this, attacking Hungary and Poland for using financial incentives to support families to have more children rather than mass, third world immigration to offset an ageing population.
According to the media outlet, which is funded by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office along with banks and multinational corporations, such policies are not only “less effective” than open borders, allegedly, but are offensive in that they “reinforc[e] the outdated notion that the role of women is to be mothers”.
Supporting women to have children is a “problematic and patriarchal assumption of women’s role in society,” writes Portia Kentish, insisting that “instead, the solution lies in a liberal immigration policy”.