factors that affect fertility rates - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15167011
Have you ever wondered why women living in some regions or certain social classes have more children than other women? Why does it oftentimes seem like the women who can least afford more children are the ones having them? Well I think I've hit onto a simple answer.

Women have more children in lower cost of living areas where room is more cheaply available. Women have fewer children when there are more job opportunities available to them.

This makes perfect sense. In an area where there's not much cost to having an additional child but there's not much job opportunity for women, the opportunity cost of having more children is not as high.

In the more densely populated cities, rental space is at a premium and the cost of living is much higher, but there are also more job opportunities for women outside the home and more opportunity for women to earn more money. If she has more children, not only is she going to have to worry about being renting a larger home for the family to have enough space in, but the increased responsibilities at home could make her have to forego a high-paying career.

In more rural areas, there is plenty of space outside for children to roam around. Because there is more open land, there is more opportunity for people to engage in minor economically productive activities with this natural capital that surrounds them (growing food, harvesting wood, hunting, as a couple of examples). These are the type of side activities that a larger family size could help contribute to. In the rural areas, there is typically fewer specialized job opportunities outside of the home, so people in these areas tend to do more things themselves. This creates a sort of flexibility that allows children to help economically contribute to the household in some ways.

So even though a woman in one area, or from one social class, may have more money than women from another, the opportunity cost—what she is sacrificing by having children—is higher.

There is one more thing that I have neglected to mention upon. And that is the ability of men to act as husbands to provide for their family. In places where the male un- or underemployment rate is high, like in Eastern Europe or urbanized Japan, female fertility rates will be lower than what they otherwise would have been. When there is a shortage of "good husband material", women are reluctant to get married, reluctant to start families. However, this depends on the culture because there are some subcultures where women may have no qualms about having children without a father. This is common in some parts of Latin America where the peasant workers are highly migratory, or in some poor African-American communities living in urban areas.
#15167360
Maybe a woman who is successful in the work force and is earning a high wage feels a higher sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction then someone who is resigned to their poverty-trap. If one has no hope for greater things in the future, then bringing children into the fold can serve as something to bring joy and focus and to disallow the bleakness to set in.
Based on discussions i have had with female friends, i don't think whether they can afford to have a child plays a major role in their decision making process (although this does sometimes occur). I think the decision to have the child comes from a more intuitive place as to whether or not they are ready for, or feel the need to have a child in their life.
#15167529
froggo wrote: I think the decision to have the child comes from a more intuitive place as to whether or not they are ready for, or feel the need to have a child in their life.

I think the notions of "being ready to for a child" or "feeling the need to have a child in their life" kind of obscures the underlying factors of what is actually going on.

Why would a woman feel "ready" to have a child? If she doesn't feel it will interfere with her career too much, if the opportunity cost is low. (If she's not giving up a high powered career by starting a family)

Why else might a woman feel "ready" to have a child? If she has entered into a committed relationship with a man, who is able to earn enough money to support her while she is taking care of the children.
That is a big factor right there. There is a complicated gender and income dynamic involved in this, and many women are reluctant to marry "down", with a man who earns less money that she does.

What about "feeling the need to have a child"? Well, what else does she have going on in her life? Does she have a man providing for her, making more money than she could likely ever earn, and she is just sitting there in the home with nothing to do. Well, then she's going to "feel the need" to have a child.
If, on the other hand, she has a high powered career, she's going to feel too busy, maybe she's going to feel "fulfilled" in other ways, all the exciting activities of a big city life.
#15167530
Main factors affecting fertility rates:

-Access to birth control for women, and to men on a lesser extent, and cultural willingness to use it

- Access to legal/safe abortions

- The culture of how much men control women in that society.

- Access to sex education and education in general.

- Access to quality healthcare to prevent childbirth deaths and infant mortality.

In virtually all of these, rich people and rich countries do better than poor ones. I think affordability to raise children is a pretty minor factor, as you can see with Western countries vs Africa, middle-east etc. Most of it is women being able to control their bodies against men who just want to fuck. Just being real.
#15167582
The one factor that we have control over, as individual men, is how good of a husband and father we are.

So, if you want a woman to bear and help raise your child, you will need to step up and show that you (for lack of a better word) deserve it. You have tp show her that you are gentle with children, a good provider, know how to fix things, make her laugh, and hopefully look good without a shirt.
#15167807
It is interesting to me how men discuss women's choices from the perspective of logic.
When I stated that a woman generally trusts her intuition when it comes to the decision to have a child, there is little by way of reasoning involved. Intuition cannot really be explained on paper. It is not of the mind. Certain conditions surrounding her may certainly effect her constitution which could contribute to 'a logical choice', but the final decision comes from something within and it may also go against all conveniences.
Again, I would have to believe the most likely theory behind why fertility rates may be higher amongst low-income individuals, is because there is a stronger desire for purpose in their lives; the joy that a child brings into a mother's life is one of the most powerful pure joys in the world. If a well-to-do woman is content with her success, she may not need to have that as strongly as a struggling poor woman, in fact she might be concerned that the child could potentially interfere on her ability to continue her ambitions. Well-off people tend to want to raise their children to become successful. They may limit the number of children so that they could give the ones they do have as much attention as they require to be formed into successful little drones.

This is one of those questions that some people think can be answered by empirical data alone. But the data would be misleading. For a more accurate understanding you would need to have a grasp of human psychology and a theory of society factored in.
#15167922
froggo wrote: Well-off people tend to want to raise their children to become successful. They may limit the number of children so that they could give the ones they do have as much attention as they require to be formed into successful little drones.

That kind of touches on r/K selection theory, the theory that different segments of the population have diverged with different reproductive strategies, driven by evolutionary natural selection.
#15167993
Puffer Fish wrote:That kind of touches on r/K selection theory, the theory that different segments of the population have diverged with different reproductive strategies, driven by evolutionary natural selection.


Perhaps to a degree, but instead of reproductive success rates, the quality striven for is ensuring the continuance of a legacy(wealth/esteem/name).
Poor people, having no legacy (as in; not overly concerned with their position on the stage of world affairs), would not be as likely to consider their children as a means to an end, but the end in themselves.
Although I know that in some societies, children are seen as being essential to tend to the needs of the elders later in life, so I suppose there is some means to an ends considerations for some poor families.
And, to be fair, you guys are right, in some places of the world, lack of access to social resources would have quite an effect.
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