In response to:

The Baby Bust Generation

John1911 Wrote: Dec 17, 2012 1:20 PM
Is this not a sign that Americans are giving up on the future? There is no one cause for the fertility decline, and it is pretty universal throughout the industrialized world. It goes along with the urbanization of the world, the decline of religion in the West, and rampant consumerism. Not saying there is a causal relationship among these things, just an observation.
lshort Wrote: Dec 17, 2012 2:44 PM
Actually, everyone I know who has waited to have children and/or limited their family size to one or two kids did not do so because they were giving up on the future. The opposite--they wanted their children to have a better future--they wanted to wait until they had more resources to spend on children to have them, and then have fewer so that each child would have a greater share of their resources.

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...