There was a collective bi-partisan freak out last week when the Pew Research Center released a report finding that U.S. birth rates hit a record low in 2011. Before doing anything crazy, like implementing social programs the rest of the developed world has enjoyed for decades, I recommend taking a closer look at the numbers to see that really, this is good news.
To lesbian mothers everywhere I have this to say – welcome to the community of second-rate parents. Don’t worry, you won’t be lonely here. You will have lots of company among us single and divorced mothers who have doomed their children to miserable lives. You thought you were doing a good job, I know, but as it turns out the only thing that really matters is that you are sleeping at night next to the man that shares their DNA. You might as well accept that your little one is going to be a drug addicted, high school dropout who is reliant on government aid as there is nothing you can do about it.
Last week Rush Limbaugh said of Sandra Fluke, “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it.” Well guess what? You are getting something for it. You are getting the chance to remain economically competitive with other developed nations that have been giving women the support they need to control their fertility. Those nations have seen their accidental pregnancy rates fall by more than 29% (from 1995 to 2008) while those in the US have continued to climb.
Despite spending more time working than any other group, women with advanced university degrees are having more children than other college-educated women. Why? Because the growing divide between the rich and the poor has created a willing pool of mommy-substitutes that the wealthy can afford.
So, how did you spend your weekend? If you were in an area that was bracing for a hurricane my guess is that you weren’t cuddling up with your significant other. If you were in an area that had a tropical storm warning, though, you might have been doing just that. Birth rate data suggests that while tropical storm warnings increase sexual activity, hurricane warnings put a damper on the mood.*
When I moved to Halifax Nova Scotia, where I live now, I was told that people in the Maritimes were happy to set their friends up for love and romance. This was good news to me since, like many other people, I have always thought that the best way to meet someone is through friends and family. My observation is that in general there has been a marked decline in the willingness to help “find someone” for friends and, to my chagrin, living in the Maritimes for the past seven years has shown me that this is just as true here as it is everywhere else.