December 1, 2006 Leave a comment
The Washington Post recently ran a rather interesting article about the growing proportion of women who never have children, mainly by choice. Some key statistics:
women 15 to 44 years old was 44.6 percent, up from 35 percent in 1976.
The higher a woman's income, I learned from another study, the less
likely she is to have children: Nearly half of women with annual
incomes over $100,000 are childless.
So, what's the point of a blog if you cannot be a little provocative every now and then? I have all the sympathy in the world for those who want children but are unable, but I have to say I have always felt that, at some level, there is something a little bit wrong with people who choose not to have children. As two of my three kids are quite difficult to deal with (and then
there's Evan, the sweetest baby ever), I certainly understand why many
would not want to have children. Yet, even as trying as David and Alex
can be at times, the rewards of parenting far, far exceed the costs. And nature
intended it that way.
In a purely biological sense, there can be no characteristic more maladaptive than the lack of desire to pass on one's genes. If there is one overriding biological imperative for basically every organism on this earth, it is to pass on one's genes. Those individuals that lack this strong sense of the need to reproduce will have their non-reproductive seeking genes quickly eliminated from the population.
Yet, of course, as humans especially, we are very much the result of our culture and life experiences as well as our genes. Increasingly, then, these other factors seem to be overriding the biological imperative to reproduce. What I find particularly interesting is how these non-genetic factors seem to be becoming increasingly prominent for contemporary American women. Sounds like a topic for my Gender and Politics course next semester.