Because I am a data fan, I looked into the census data on fertility, especially for white non-Hispanic women, who make up most of your typical pool of conservatives in America. And what I found is that the data supports my contention that women are simply not having more than four children and most are not having more than three, and this includes women in their 40s, who can be classified as biologically “done” whether they sped the process along with medical interventions or not. This would include the overwhelming majority of conservative women too.
Either conservative men need to admit how utterly tiny the group is that they are classifying as “conservative” or “traditional” and that this group is simply too small to outbreed anyone via natural increase (the daughters are not replicating their mothers’ fecundity, according to the data as the cohorts move through time) or they need to shut up about how it’s not hard to have seven or ten kids, they know lots of women who do. It’s called clustering. It isn’t surprising if all the people with nine kids hang out together at Latin mass or Particular Baptist churches, but statistically speaking, they can’t be doing so at very many such places because there just aren’t enough of them to represent like that.
As of 2014, about 1%, or one women in a hundred is having five or more children, among the white non-Hispanic women aged 15-44. Among the women who could still pop out a surprise baby or two (women in their 30s and early 40s), the percentage is three women per hundred. There is nothing wrong with having three or four instead of the mass media-advocated “perfect two”, but out in conservative media, a distinct effort is being made to promote families of 7 kids or more as both normal and common and only marginally more difficult/expensive to raise than smaller families. There is an assist from conservative men online with mysteriously high amounts of free time and mysteriously high levels of unemployment and underemployment chatting at great length about how easy it is for their wives.
The percentages I’m talking about have remained under five percent for over twenty years now. In 1970, about one woman (all races) in five had five or more kids. By 1985 it was less than one woman in ten, and by 1990 it was around one woman in twenty. And those numbers are for all races of women, the white non-Hispanic numbers were slightly lower at every stage, with the current numbers for all races being about 2% having five or more children.
Babies are great, kids are great, but the function of female humanity is not solely to reproduce until menopause and even if it was, they sure aren’t supposed to do it alone in a tract house in a faceless suburban housing development with no way to get to anything except by car.
One of the biggest pieces of a practical Benedict Option would be some honesty from conservatives, male and female alike, about where exactly people are with the kid-having and why they have given up on large families despite most of the people having kids being people who greatly desire and want children.
ETA 8/10/15: I found an example of the conservative online deceptiveness with the note at the end of this sadly funny post about how silly women are for not having zillions of children with some unemployed Latin Mass LARPer. I’ll paste the note below if you don’t want to slog through the linked post:
US Census shows 42% of women of childbearing age currently have no children. 22% have two, 17% one, 12% three, and 7% four or more. That means only 1/5 of women today have yet to dodge the ignominy of the Darwin Award. Interestingly, nearly all of the traditional women I know (who eschew divorce, natch) are in that final 7%. Having won the genetic lottery, why go feral? Domesticated animals rarely leave the warm farm if the farmer is feeding and breeding them well.
Setting aside the wonderful way this conservative man refers to Christian wives and mothers, what this guy is doing is combining data that is separated out by the Census. I combined the data for women having more than five children because the category “7+” is measured in fractions of a percent for nearly all age groups and ethnic groups among women. And having five or six are combined by the Census people to get that data consistently over 1% for most ages and ethnic groups of women. The guy, by flinging around “seven percent of women have more than four kids in their lifetimes”, is combining categories in a way designed to over report how frequently women have larger numbers of children. Four is only being included because without that group, the real math is the following:
All women, 5 or 6 children: 1.6%
All women, 7 or more children: 3/10% (three tenths of a percent). This of course rounds up to the 2% of all women I am using.
Five percent of all women having exactly four children is very different than what this guy is trying to imply. It also means that plenty of “traditional” wives and mothers are faithful and behave normally without having large numbers of children. Not quite what this guy was going for, but the reality on the ground. Women who are committed to Christ first honor their duties and obligations regardless of whether they have any children, three, five or fifteen.