SocietyWatch

From the February 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Fewer and fewer Americans being born

America’s birthrate has reached its lowest point in more than a century according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. 2013 marked the sixth year in a row America’s birthrate has declined. Only 3.9 million babies were born in 2013, compared to 4.3 million in 2007.

Demographer William Frey told the New York Times that a country’s fertility rates are tied to its economic climate. “On just about every demographic indicator involving young adults, whether it’s marriage, buying a home or delaying childbearing, it’s all been on hold since the beginning of the recession,” Frey said.

In 2013, the birthrate among American women was 10 percent lower than 2007 and 50 percent lower than 1909, when records started.

Women under 30 accounted for most of the decline in birthrate. Women over 35 actually accounted for the biggest increase in over half a century, indicating that women are delaying family until later in life in order to pursue a career.

Daddies don’t provide

Traditionally, the overwhelming majority of American men have been the primary income providers for their families. This trend is reversing. A June 5 Pew report shows women out-earning the man of the house more than ever.

In 1960, men accounted for 89.2 percent of the primary breadwinners in the home. Now, 4 in 10 homes are primarily provided for by the woman.

Additionally, there have never been more men staying at home to care for children. According to the Pew study, 2 million dads now stay at home compared with 1.1 million in 1989. In 1989, 5 percent stayed home primarily for childcare. By 2012, that number had risen to 21 percent, an increase of 320 percent.

Chris Tecala explained a common rationale for “daddy day care”: “My salary equaled the cost of the yearly day care of two non-potty-trained infants, which was about $40,000 a year. … I would be working just for someone else to watch my kids, and it just didn’t make sense.”

Today’s families increasingly view the roles of breadwinning and homemaking as interchangeable, equally suitable for whomever in a family feels inclined to take them. It is important to recognize, however, that such thinking is a revolutionary change from the predominant family structure for virtually all human history across nearly all cultures. It could accurately be considered a major social experiment.

What will the results be? It is difficult to gauge in isolation, particularly because this trend is occurring alongside several others that are fracturing long-held views on the composition of families and the roles that men and women play within them.

Society is casting aside those traditional views on the assumption that they are outdated and irrelevant. But evidence is mounting that all of these changes are having a devastating effect on the stability both of individual families and society as a whole. To learn more about the rise of women in the workplace and the retreat of men, and the ramifications of this trend on society, read “The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Encouraging businesses to hire illegal immigrants

Due to a loophole in his Affordable Care Act, U.S. President Barack Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants now gives firms an incentive of $3,000 per employee not to hire U.S. citizens, according to a November 25 Washington Times report. The president’s proclamation allows illegal immigrants to obtain work permits but not public benefits such as Obamacare. This makes them much more affordable to hire.

The president’s executive actions don’t reflect the views of hundreds of millions of the Americans he represents: 80 percent of Americans believe new jobs should go to U.S. citizens over illegal immigrants. Thirty-five percent of Americans now think all illegal immigrants should leave the country, up from 26 percent in 2013.

President Obama has welcomed close to 10 million legal and illegal immigrants—about the same number of immigrants as the total amount of jobs created during his presidential term. Now those millions have a $3,000 advantage over American citizens in snapping up a job.