Should Couples Have More Children?

             
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A newly released study entitled the “World Family Map 2015” presents a number of interesting facts on the state of the family worldwide.

One of these facts focuses on the average number of children per family in various countries. What’s interesting is how many developed nations barely have enough children to replace their current population, particularly in Asian and European countries (see chart below). Even the United States is now below the replacement level of 2.1 births per female. As the report declares, “The long-term consequences of such low fertility—both for the children themselves and for the societies they live in—are uncertain.”

While those consequences are definitely uncertain, one has to wonder if we’re already beginning to see a glimpse of them. Could the fertility decline lead to greater economic problems as nations have fewer laborers? How will lower fertility rates influence immigration flows, which in many countries seem to pose an increasing problem? And with fewer children to depend upon, will the elderly see an increasing decline in the state of the care they receive?

Given the facts of declining fertility rates and the trouble they could cause, do we need to reconsider the popular idea that we are overpopulated?

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This post was republished courtesy of Intellectual Takeout. The original post can be found here.

The Mirror newspaper put it starkly: “Not doing enough housework is making women fat, study claims”.

The Daily Mail sweetened the pill slightly. Its page three headline ran: “Sorry, girls…you need to do more housework!”

The cause of these headlines, and several others in a similar vein, was a joint study from Manchester University and Royal Holloway, part of the University of London.

It found that the average woman now spends a fifth less time on household chores than her counterpart in the early 1980s.

Having come to adulthood in the 1980s, I can testify that many homes were still places of domestic graft. Dishwashers were a luxury item, only found in the mansions of the rich and famous. Fewer women worked away from the home and there were more children around – because of higher birth-rates back then – so there was more to do and more of us to do it.

The stories about the study this week also drew some startling statistical comparisons. One pointed out that “while mopping floors burns off 200 calories an hour – roughly a bar of chocolate – sitting in front of a computer uses up as few as 70 calories”.

The Telegraph, which also covered the university research, dug out an expert who noted that: “Many years ago, we devised labour-saving devices which meant we didn’t have to move around as much while doing the housework. These devices – which were brilliant when they started being invented – definitely had an effect on the amount that women, particularly, were exercising. If you don’t work off the calories you ingest by doing exercise, you’re not compensating for what you’ve been eating. It’s as simple as that.”

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. Some working women do cope with sedentary working lives, full of long commutes in a sitting position, followed by a long day at the desk in the same posture, They go to the gym religiously, they diet furiously. But that takes discipline. The point about housework, real, broom-pushing, clothes-ironing, weed-pulling, shopping-bag-carrying, housework, is that it happens inadvertently. Any calories expended in the course of my daily chores are a benign by-product to the real business of making my home work properly.

The study points out that the importance of housework is magnified by the failure of other forms of exercise. The authors note that the average Briton now spends a mere 11 minutes a day playing sport. And that is one of the reasons why obesity rates have more than trebled in the last 30 years, with predictions that half of the UK’s population could be obese by 2050.

As this author has commented before, our Government’s obsession with denying women a real choice about whether or not to stay at home to raise a family, or join the productivity hamster wheel at work, has produced a host of downsides which are rarely factored into the debate. A decline in volunteerism, a rise in childhood mental health issues are two obvious examples, to which we can now add obesity. I would rather not spend a large part of my life running the vacuum cleaner around the house but, since I do and because I am unlikely to be taking out a gym membership soon, it is nice to know it has some benefit.

Republished with permission from the BeHome blog, a project of the Home Renaissance Foundation

- See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/housework-versus-obesity/169...

The Mirror newspaper put it starkly: “Not doing enough housework is making women fat, study claims”.

The Daily Mail sweetened the pill slightly. Its page three headline ran: “Sorry, girls…you need to do more housework!”

The cause of these headlines, and several others in a similar vein, was a joint study from Manchester University and Royal Holloway, part of the University of London.

It found that the average woman now spends a fifth less time on household chores than her counterpart in the early 1980s.

Having come to adulthood in the 1980s, I can testify that many homes were still places of domestic graft. Dishwashers were a luxury item, only found in the mansions of the rich and famous. Fewer women worked away from the home and there were more children around – because of higher birth-rates back then – so there was more to do and more of us to do it.

The stories about the study this week also drew some startling statistical comparisons. One pointed out that “while mopping floors burns off 200 calories an hour – roughly a bar of chocolate – sitting in front of a computer uses up as few as 70 calories”.

The Telegraph, which also covered the university research, dug out an expert who noted that: “Many years ago, we devised labour-saving devices which meant we didn’t have to move around as much while doing the housework. These devices – which were brilliant when they started being invented – definitely had an effect on the amount that women, particularly, were exercising. If you don’t work off the calories you ingest by doing exercise, you’re not compensating for what you’ve been eating. It’s as simple as that.”

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. Some working women do cope with sedentary working lives, full of long commutes in a sitting position, followed by a long day at the desk in the same posture, They go to the gym religiously, they diet furiously. But that takes discipline. The point about housework, real, broom-pushing, clothes-ironing, weed-pulling, shopping-bag-carrying, housework, is that it happens inadvertently. Any calories expended in the course of my daily chores are a benign by-product to the real business of making my home work properly.

The study points out that the importance of housework is magnified by the failure of other forms of exercise. The authors note that the average Briton now spends a mere 11 minutes a day playing sport. And that is one of the reasons why obesity rates have more than trebled in the last 30 years, with predictions that half of the UK’s population could be obese by 2050.

As this author has commented before, our Government’s obsession with denying women a real choice about whether or not to stay at home to raise a family, or join the productivity hamster wheel at work, has produced a host of downsides which are rarely factored into the debate. A decline in volunteerism, a rise in childhood mental health issues are two obvious examples, to which we can now add obesity. I would rather not spend a large part of my life running the vacuum cleaner around the house but, since I do and because I am unlikely to be taking out a gym membership soon, it is nice to know it has some benefit.

Republished with permission from the BeHome blog, a project of the Home Renaissance Foundation

- See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/housework-versus-obesity/169...