Unlike European nations, which are experiencing a population decline, the United States is virtually exploding with infants, reports the Associated Press. There were nearly 4.3 million births in 2006, and experts believe that there are several reasons for this mini-boom: "A decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty." Cultural factors are also at work, as Latinos have fertility rates that are 40% higher than the norm, and, according to Johns Hopkins Professor Nan Marie Astone, "Americans like children. We are the only people who respond to prosperity by saying, 'Let's have another kid.'" It's that approach — the interweaving of prosperity and fertility — that is troubling. It sounds like the same semi-mercenary logic behind the desire to have a second car. Which is not to say that finances aren't a huge part of the decision to have kids, but when it's the only reason to have another child, it's a little disturbing.
This baby-boom news also gives us the opportunity to go back to a tried and true mantra: It's the Republicans' fault! Is it any wonder that the birth rate is increasing (among women of all ages, teens included), when the Bush administration has limited access to abortion and financed abstinence only education? I'm also curious about the decline in contraceptive use. Is it because women are no longer scared of AIDS, so they forgo condoms? Is it because the price of birth control pills has risen?
So which is it, ladies? Is it a cultural shift backwards, in which women need babies to feel complete? Or can we blame President Bush for hating on abortion? Or are women just seeing Angelina look all perfect and shit with Shiloh and want a mini-me for themselves? The barren whores here at Jezebel want to know!
U.S. Experiences Baby Boomlet in 2006 [AP via Los Angeles Times]