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The Baby Bust Generation

American_in_Europe Wrote: Dec 18, 2012 8:50 AM
The main factor determining the number of children is the educational level of the woman. The longer she studies the fewer reproductive years she exercises. This is especially true in developing countries where women used to start having children at 15 but also in those developed countries where higher education is not a heavy financial burden.

FERTILITY IN AMERICA has been declining for years. According to the Pew Research Center, the nation's birth rate hit an all-time low in 2011 – just 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. It was almost twice as high – 123 births per 1,000 women – at the peak of the Baby Boom in 1957.

As babies and children disappear from a society, what takes their place? One answer, as journalist Jonathan V. Last observes in a forthcoming book, "What to Expect When No One's Expecting," is pets.

In surveys taken from the 1940s to the 1980s, fewer...