The latest provisional birth data is out and the results are an ongoing decline in total births at all but the oldest ages (mostly 40+, which is barely any of the total babies).
I have no idea when I can get around to it in more detail but Gen X (my “generation”) beat the spread and had more babies than their initial TFR predicted, which is pretty interesting. Also cohort analysis shows some specific cohorts within Gen X and older-Millennial are having more higher-order births (3, 4, 5th, etc) than their fellow cohort-sisters.
So on the one hand a few small groups that someone eventually should look at more closely are having more children than expected. On the other hand, the big-picture of fertility is ongoing declines in baby-having at every stage of fertile-life.
So what is this ongoing decline in new life worth? What is it worth to the ever-shrinking pool of married parents? And what’s making a handful of people double down and have marginal additional children at all?
The story of the transformation of the”housewife” into the “stay at home mother” providing “mother-care, not DAYCARE” in American society in the wake of the Pill and Roe v. Wade is an interesting one and there’s not much information on the internet about it because the idea that there was a transition (and that this transition destroyed a substantial amount of soft power among married women) is not compatible with either right wing or left wing narratives about the topic.
We didn’t really have the term before motherhood could be conceivably viewed as entirely intentional/optional, even within marriage. And nobody seems to ask why it bloomed so suddenly and took over, when by its nature it explicitly separates motherhood from marriage, while housewife emphasizes, well, property benefits of marriage for women foremost. Homemaker, it’s worth noting, has begun to turn up as a transition away from stay at home mother, but it lacks that wilful connecting of property with marriage and in fact shifts the domestic world to something a woman must make/build, rather than something she is inherently part of and maintaining/managing.
Since this is just thinky thoughts, I will close with the little data point that over half of American SAHMs use center-based daycare for children aged 0-4 and that we hit that point about 10 years ago and this is in every region of the country, not concentrated in one place, it’s about half everywhere. Employed or not, it’s 80% for BA or higher-possessing mothers.