Relations Reporting on marriage, family, and sexuality

America’s shrinking future

Family | U.S. birth and fertility rates continued a downward trend last year
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 5/25/18, 03:14 pm

The United States birth rate dropped again last year, hitting a 30-year low and raising concerns about the future of American society and economic growth.

The number of U.S. babies born last year fell 2 percent from 2016, from 3.95 million to 3.85 million, according to data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The fertility rate—the number of births per 1,000 women of reproductive age—also hit a record low, down 3 percent since 2016 to 60.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The total fertility rate—the theoretical total number of births each woman would have in a lifetime if she followed the current fertility rate—also dropped 3 percent, to 1.765 births per woman.

The United States has been below replacement fertility (2,100 births per 1,000 women) for the greater part of the last 45 years. Robust immigration has staved off some of the negative effects of population decline, but not all.

An aging population with fewer young people will over time decline and contract, according to Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. It has happened already in Japan, Hungary, and Italy, where immigration has not made up for falling birth rates, Mosher said. (Often-quoted, but insightful: The Japanese purchase more adult diapers than child diapers.)

Another major concern: How will fewer working-age adults support systems like Social Security and Medicaid with the Baby Boomers in retirement?

“The number of births in the U.S. today is simply not enough by itself to keep the population stable,” Mosher said.

Noting the fertility declines over the past three years were mostly among women under 30, Kasey Buckles, an economics professor at Notre Dame, said the data indicated the decrease most likely came from a drop in unwanted pregnancies and people just being more “intentional about their fertility.”

But other data suggest women are having fewer children than they want, partly because couples are waiting longer to get married.

“Marriage rates are falling, as well, and fertility rates among unmarried women are much lower than for married women, not to mention that outcomes for both children and their parents are best when the parents are married,” Mosher said.

What’s the fix? “American society, like much of the West, places much emphasis on success, achievement, and career goals,” Mosher said. “We have to, as a society, underline the importance of marriage and motherhood.”

His practical suggestion: Protect young couples with children from onerous tax rates by not making them pay income or Social Security taxes. “They are contributing to the future of the U.S. in the most fundamental way: by providing the future generation.”

Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Medichini Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Medichini Juan Carlos Cruz on April 24 in Vatican City

Papal confusion?

A Chilean man this week said Pope Francis told him God made him gay and loves him that way, a move many interpret as tacit acceptance of homosexuality by the Roman Catholic Church.

In late April, Francis hosted at the Vatican three victims of Chile’s sexual abuse scandal. Earlier in April, the pope confessed he made “grave errors” in judgment in regard to the scandal, having adamantly supported a man whom a Vatican investigation later found was intimately aware of rampant abuse and did nothing. (Last week, more than 30 bishops in Chile offered to resign over the coverup.)

Francis reportedly had a three-hour meeting with Juan Carlos Cruz, a vocal victim of sexual abuse by notorious Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima. This month, Cruz told Spanish newspaper El País the pope affirmed his sexual orientation.

“He said to me, ‘Juan Carlos that’s not a problem,’” said Cruz, claiming the pope added, “You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.”

The Vatican has refused to comment on the pope’s reported statement.

LGBT activists are claiming the comments signal Francis’ desire to welcome gay and lesbian individuals into the Catholic Church. Some Catholic leaders have claimed the comments merely show respect for people with same-sex attraction without contradicting Church doctrine.

But others disagree, pointing to Church teaching that labels homosexual acts as “acts of grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered,” and “contrary to the natural law.”

The pope’s statements present “a gospel foreign to Catholic ears,” wrote Doug Mainwarning, a same-sex attracted Catholic who says Church members should remain celibate outside of Biblical, heterosexual marriage.

“Many of us who experience same-sex attraction and remain chaste are troubled by the pope’s departure from both Church teaching and natural law through which we have freedom and life,” Mainwarning wrote. “If the pope’s alleged words … are confirmed to be true, the pope will have abandoned the world’s same-sex attracted, leaving them adrift.”

Evangelicals should observe the situation carefully, said Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a WORLD News Group board member. The pope has followed a kind of dualism between his official teaching and his pastoral position about sexuality, said Mohler on his podcast The Briefing.

“We’re not talking about a minor issue, or an issue in which there could simply be endless theological speculation,” Mohler said. “We’re talking about an issue of very real human urgency, and we’re talking about a moral question to which Scripture speaks emphatically and categorically.” —K.C.

Associated Press/Photo by Douglass Dowty The Syracuse Newspapers Associated Press/Photo by Douglass Dowty The Syracuse Newspapers Matthew Rotondo (left) sits in a New York courtroom while his parents confer with their lawyer behind him.

Failure to launch

A New York couple made news this week for resorting to the court system to force their 30-year-old son to move out of their split-level ranch near Syracuse, N.Y.

Michael Rotondo told Judge Donald Greenwood on Tuesday he has not been a burden to his parents for the past eight years since he does his own laundry and buys his own food.

But his parents felt otherwise. Mark and Cynthia Rotondo, who sat quietly in the first row of seats in the empty courtroom, have sent five eviction letters since February, offering their son money and other help to find a place to live.

“Michael, here is $1,100 from us to you so you can find a place to stay,” they said in a Feb. 18 letter filed in court. “There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one—you have to work!”

In court, Michael argued he was entitled to six months’ notice before eviction because he was a family member. The judge disagreed and granted the eviction. Michael said he would appeal the ruling. —K.C.

School settles LGBT harassment case

An Oregon school district this week settled a lawsuit with two lesbian students who claimed students and staff harassed them for their sexual orientation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon announced the settlement with the North Bend School District on Monday. North Bend is a town of about 10,000 people located 175 miles southwest of Portland.

Complainants Olivia Funk and Hailey Smith listed a number of grievances, including anti-gay slurs, being hit with a skateboard, and a teacher reportedly comparing same-sex marriage to marrying a dog.

Under the settlement, the high school principal is required to leave the school before the 2018-2019 academic year. The district must also ask the local police department to remove a school police officer who reportedly told one of the girls she was going to hell, hire an expert consultant in sex and sexual orientation discrimination, and make a $1,000 gift to a local LGBT support group. —K.C.

Thanks, Mom

To close out the month of Mother’s Day, a 32-page research report on why mothers matter. —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • SC
    Posted: Fri, 06/01/2018 08:10 am


    First, let me say I adore this Podcast. I am a stay at home wife and mom as well as a homeschool Mom and I start my day listening to The World and Everything in it. This particular story on US birth rates are dropping made me want to scream, in fact I must admit, I did raise my voice to my phone. There is absolutely NO mystery to the falling birth rate. All we need to do is look at the abortions that take place in our country since Roe v. Wade to account for all those lost babies/generations. The fact that abortion "could" be a factor yet was never mentioned by Lyman Stone was mind boggling to say the least. He stated minorities particulary as having less babies, yet it is the minorities (sadly) that are targeted and then subsequently have abortions.  And what about all those babies in freezers suspended in time due to fertility treatments? That HAS to have an impact on a society and effect birth rates. I will assume my passion for pro-life perhaps overtook me during this segment.

    Thank you all for what to do and what stories you bring us, even the hard ones to hear.