I am writing not as a single cultural aberration, but as part of yet another cultural trend: the rise of the larger family. In March 2004, USA Today ran a front-page story with the headline, "For More Parents, Three Kids Are a Charm: Professional, educated women lead the trend." The headline on the inside page read, "Opportunity to Raise Big Family Is 'a Tremendous Liberation for Women.'"

"We're undergoing a gender and family revolution," Stephanie Coontz, national co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, said in the article. From 1995 to 2000, the number of women of childbearing age giving birth to three or more children rose 7 percent (to 18.4 per 1,000 women). "Women with impressive resumes … no longer see life as a choice between work and motherhood," Coontz continued.

The Families and Work Institute, a New York–based center for research on the changing work force, reported in a recent study that female managers and professionals are having more children. In 2002, such women had double the number of children under 18 at home as women in the same positions had in 1977. Women with four-year or higher college degrees had triple the average number as women with similar educations in 1977.

A number of demographers, journalists, and sociologists have noted a strong correlation between religious values and fertility rates. The more frequent the church attendance, the higher the birthrate. "White fundamentalist Protestants" who attend services weekly show a fertility rate 27 percent higher than the national average. Mormons show twice the national birth rate.

David Brooks, in a New York Times opinion piece, calls this "little- known" movement natalism. The significant difference in fertility between the religious ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Making Promises Subscriber Access Only
Why to keep your word—and the Word.
RecommendedHow God Rescued Me from the ‘Mormon Charles Manson’
How God Rescued Me from the ‘Mormon Charles Manson’Subscriber Access Only
My earthly father wrecked my life. Now my Heavenly Father is rebuilding it.
TrendingWho’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
A Counter Trend—Sort Of
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.