This online survey stopped us at 11 children. Fewer than 1,000 in the United States have 11 children. To continue we were commanded, “Remove household members above.” Sort of morbid. Take this NYT Database Test and see where your family stands. There are some very interesting observations we found.
1. Large families took a dive in the 1960s.
According to this chart, families of 10 children dived around 1960. Families of 10 was much more likely back in the 1900s. Birth control was introduced in 1960, abortion on demand in 1973, and “unnatural” selection followed suit. By 1980, families of 10 children plateaued to what it is today: less than .01%.
Is this because of birth control? Choosing the childless life seems to have added to the cultural swing to smaller families. Check out the same chart for married-with-no-kids:
This, too, plateaued, though earlier in the 20th century. And at a much higher rate. Today they constitute 21.23% of all US marriages. I have to think, is a childless life really that appealing? While sterility might certainly account for some of this number, I doubt 1/5 of married couples are sterile. A lot of married couples are choosing the childless life.
2. Money has nothing to do with it.
A common myth out there — a myth couples often use to avoid the blessing of children — is that children are not affordable. We do a lot of speaking and writing about bucking this idea. Our CD on frugality is a must-own, especially if you are struggling with finances (see Cheaper by the Dozen).
Notice the next chart. This is the income of couples with no kids:
Now to the parents of 10 children. What a difference!
Check that out! Interesting. Roughly 34-40% of families with 10 children make less than $30k in their house, while parents with no kids at all are making $75k-$150k. No wonder so many childless couples snicker at families with young children in restaurants. They can afford to go out to eat!
This blows a stereotype. The fallacy is that large families are not sustainable, that Americans should avoid children based on affordability. We’ve rejected that myth long ago, and I believe our lives are “richer” because of it. I bet the 1,147 families with 10 children in America feel the same.
3. It’s not just children; it’s love in general.
The chart includes the ability to remove the children altogether and study the dynamics of never married, no children households. Seventeen million adult women are unmarried, not living with anyone, with no children at all. This is 15% of households. Males aren’t quite as high in numbers, but still at a significant 12% of households.
It would be easy to write this off as just the 18-21 year olds who haven’t yet found that “someone.” But check out how this number changed through the 20th century. These are single, not married, no children women:
The male chart is much the same. Conclusion: men and women are choosing not to marry. They are choosing life without a life-long, loving companion. Divorce may be an indicator in this, but does that invalidate the curve in this chart? It shows the tendency to go alone won out, that matrimony proved undesirable, that love (at least in marriage) isn’t all that important. And this tendency was influenced significantly in the 1960s.
Where do you stand? Check out the online database. Would love to hear your thoughts below.