Auguste Meyrat, a Dallas English teacher and conservative writer, says the U.S. birthrate has fallen to 1.7 children per woman, well below the 2.1 replacement rate, and that’s going to be a problem. His article, “How a Shift to Majority-Childless Adults Will Deeply Change American Culture,” was published in The Federalist on June 5.
Meyrat writes, “Not only does low fertility lead to a society dominated by the elderly, with young people shouldering a heavier economic and cultural burden, but it also means a society increasingly dominated by childless adults. This latter development warrants far more attention than it normally receives, because it will determine the character of American life.”
“Not having kids makes you a different kind of person,” Meyrat says. Parents are required to sacrifice for their children, to work to support them, and to schedule their lives around their needs.
Apparently those of us without children are free to do whatever we want. We are more selfish, more liberal, and more anti-social. We can spend our days binge-watching Netflix and playing video games, spend our evenings in bars, and throw money around like it grows on trees. I’m exaggerating, but only a little.
Meyrat notes that kids connect their parents to the community. The childless rarely go to libraries, parks or community events. Politically, parents “shun controversy and activism and embrace the status quo.” Not like us crazy folks without children.
He concludes that we need both the stability of parents and the energy of non-parents, but if things lean too far in the childless direction, “communities start to dissipate and people become disconnected from one another, their immediate surroundings, and even themselves.”
I’m paraphrasing. You might want to read the whole essay. Then come back and discuss this. Do you think people without children are really that much different from people who are parents? Are we more liberal, less responsible, and less sociable? Or are we a mixed bag like everyone else?
As more people remain childless, how do you think it will affect our society? Will it make a difference besides the obvious lack of younger people?
I welcome your comments.