Being Single in Your 30s Isn’t Bad Luck, It’s a Global Phenomenon

meiam

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That kind of growth isn't sustainable, sure. However, all studies on population growth acknowledge that we aren't near that kind of growth today. As it stands people in developed countries are having much fewer children (in many countries in Europe we are looking at a de facto depopulation with current birth numbers) and even in developing countries there's a notable slowdown in population growth, largely due to the introduction of birth control alternatives (the condom especially). Instead of a population of 32 billion in 2120 current predictions suggest we might be looking at 10-14 billion and might even see as low as 7 billion, even without any unforeseen disasters like war, famine or a hyper-deadly pandemic.
It's not like it would be an issue if we went back to 2 billions. Heck with advance in automation and AI in 2120 I'm guessing 90+% of the population will have no useful skill whatsoever. And we're not even talking about potential leap in anti aging science.

The only potential issue I could see (and that's stretching quite a bit) is if we tried to colonize other planet, but at that point we'll probably be able to make artificial human anyway.
 
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SupahEwok

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The global population was 2 billion in 1920, now we are at nearly 8 billion a hundred years later! This growth is not sustainable! Not having kids is a good thing at this point.
That kind of concern is called Malthusianism, after an early economist who first posited the theory in 1798. In particular, he was concerned that population would grow ecponentially while food supply would grow linearly, leading to a catastrophe at some point.

We are significantly beyond the point of that being a concern. Improvements in agriculture since his day mean we fully possess the ability to feed everyone on Earth under current conditions for the foreseeable future; that some go hungry is a problem in distribution, not capacity.

And as Gethsemani mentioned, population growth is slowing. Even with that though, I want to point out positive population growth means 2.5 kids per couple. Some people have 4-10 kids, which is what keeps the population growing, but in the Western world that behavior is largely demographic based, and likely to change. Most of the kids I grew up with came from homes of 1-3 kids, myself included. One can have just 1 child without feeling fear for contribution of the collapse of the human population.

Of more concern is environmental impact from the consumption of so many humans, and we're past the point of no return on that, in terms of population. I'm a pessimist on our chances with that. Humans won't deal with it effectively for the same reason that abstinence does not work to prevent pregnancies: humans as a population are horrible at practicing restraint. Best hope is that the scientists are being pessimistic themselves, which is unlikely.
 

Elfgore

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Cool. I blame the general economic stability and the stagnation of wages. Even I was dating someone and deeply in love with them, if she worked a job slightly above or around my salary, our combined wages would be slaughtered by the addition of a child. I just turned 25. People my age don't have the money to have kids and at least some of us are being smart about it.
We are significantly beyond the point of that being a concern. Improvements in agriculture since his day mean we fully possess the ability to feed everyone on Earth under current conditions for the foreseeable future; that some go hungry is a problem in distribution, not capacity.
Well, since world hunger is still a problem, the logistics of this is certainly a problem that could come into play.
 
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TheMysteriousGX

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I'm gonna echo the economic argument. I'm at about 150% of minimum wage at a full time job and I can't afford healthcare or car insurance. Two of me trying to pay for a child? Not freaking happening.
 

Sneed's SeednFeed

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Don't worry your heavy heads, I don't think any of those women labelled in 'crisis of being too old to have children' would have wanted to have kids with any of you anyway.
 

Drathnoxis

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That kind of concern is called Malthusianism, after an early economist who first posited the theory in 1798. In particular, he was concerned that population would grow ecponentially while food supply would grow linearly, leading to a catastrophe at some point.

We are significantly beyond the point of that being a concern. Improvements in agriculture since his day mean we fully possess the ability to feed everyone on Earth under current conditions for the foreseeable future; that some go hungry is a problem in distribution, not capacity.

And as Gethsemani mentioned, population growth is slowing. Even with that though, I want to point out positive population growth means 2.5 kids per couple. Some people have 4-10 kids, which is what keeps the population growing, but in the Western world that behavior is largely demographic based, and likely to change. Most of the kids I grew up with came from homes of 1-3 kids, myself included. One can have just 1 child without feeling fear for contribution of the collapse of the human population.

Of more concern is environmental impact from the consumption of so many humans, and we're past the point of no return on that, in terms of population. I'm a pessimist on our chances with that. Humans won't deal with it effectively for the same reason that abstinence does not work to prevent pregnancies: humans as a population are horrible at practicing restraint. Best hope is that the scientists are being pessimistic themselves, which is unlikely.
The environmental impact is the major problem, far over food supply. More people exacerbates every problem humanity makes. Sure there isn't a global famine apocalypse, but how many wilderness and forests have been turned into farmland to feed 8 billion rather than 1? How about all the material goods a person will go through in their life? Everybody needs clothes and computers and houses, all of which have an environmental cost to produce and dispose of.

What is the benefit to more and more people anyway? With automation there already there isn't enough work for everybody to do as it is, how many unemployed will there be at 14 billion? Unless we develop FTL travel, there just isn't a purpose to this growth.

I don't think it's enough for the growth to slow, it needs to stop, and probably even decline somewhat.
 

Terminal Blue

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Whenever someone is trying to guilt or pressure women into having more children, the question I always like to ask is "would you be willing to pay them?"

If having children is such a vital and important thing for society (leaving aside the question of whether it actually is) then should those who contribute to society by bearing and raising children be paid a salary? Or is this something you assume they will do for free?

If you're worried that people aren't having enough children, then you should probably ask yourself why people are not having many children. The answer is obvious, it's not a rewarding choice for anyone who has an alternative, and increasingly people have alternatives.

I'm also going to point out how often this argument coincidentally comes out of people who have "concerns" about immigration, which leads me to wonder if maybe this isn't actually about preventing population decline as it is about.. something else.
 

Secondhand Revenant

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Not a bad idea if they Darwin themselves out. A problem I see going forward is not ensuring women, who, fair or not fair, have an early window in which to make a decision, need to be informed to make that decision. They need to know the author of "Sex in the City" who pushed the glamour singleton life is now, at 60, regretting her decisions feeling "truly alone". Of course, to your point, there are plenty that DID have kids and wish they had not. Just, be informed.
What. Is there anything that makes you believe they are not informed about it sufficiently? This whole thing makes it sound like you think there's some huge influence pushing them into the 'glamour singleton life'.
 

gorfias

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What. Is there anything that makes you believe they are not informed about it sufficiently? This whole thing makes it sound like you think there's some huge influence pushing them into the 'glamour singleton life'.
The culture and the politics make me think that. And it has been going on for some time. The very show "Sex in the City" was about this glamorous life: one the author now regrets. I've also read in these threads ludicrous statements about the fertility window being a "myth".
 

Terminal Blue

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The very show "Sex in the City" was about this glamorous life: one the author now regrets.
Eh, she seems to be fine.

Candace Bushnell said:
Hahaha! The opposite is true: I’ve never regretted not having children and I’ve felt compelled to have a career since I was a child. But who’s judging? Not me! Read all about it in my new book Is There Still Sex in the City.
She's 60. She still has an active sex life and the ability to pursue relationships. She has a career. She has friends who spend time with her. She has the admiration and respect of huge numbers of people for doing a something she enjoys. She's in relatively good health. She still looks snatched.

What do most people have at 60?

I'm not a huge fan of Sex and the City, but I find this conservative obsession with it ridiculous. Candace was writing about experiences she had in her 30s. She got married in her 40s and divorced a decade later. She had a whole life after Sex and the City, and conservatives picking on one interview where she talks about how hard her divorce was and how it might be easier for someone with children and construing that as "regret" is just desperate.

It makes me wonder whether having children has really made you happy, or whether you've just convinced yourself that not having children would have made you miserable.
 

Drathnoxis

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Eh, she seems to be fine.



She's 60. She still has an active sex life and the ability to pursue relationships. She has a career. She has friends who spend time with her. She has the admiration and respect of huge numbers of people for doing a something she enjoys. She's in relatively good health. She still looks snatched.

What do most people have at 60?

I'm not a huge fan of Sex and the City, but I find this conservative obsession with it ridiculous. Candace was writing about experiences she had in her 30s. She got married in her 40s and divorced a decade later. She had a whole life after Sex and the City, and conservatives picking on one interview where she talks about how hard her divorce was and how it might be easier for someone with children and construing that as "regret" is just desperate.

It makes me wonder whether having children has really made you happy, or whether you've just convinced yourself that not having children would have made you miserable.
I don't really have any interest in having children and even less in the processes required to produce said children, but I'm a little worried about how it might be like to get old without the kind of support network you get from kids. I've been helping out my grandparents for a long time, and it's a little scary when I consider who I'm going to have to rely on when I'm their age.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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I don't really have any interest in having children and even less in the processes required to produce said children, but I'm a little worried about how it might be like to get old without the kind of support network you get from kids. I've been helping out my grandparents for a long time, and it's a little scary when I consider who I'm going to have to rely on when I'm their age.
You'll probably be relying on robots when you're their age. Drones delivering your food on command when you tell alexa you're hungry, a network of rombas cleaning your house, a self driving car getting you around town. And you'll hate all of it because you'll be old and crotchety and telling everyone it was better back in your day.
 

gorfias

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Eh, she seems to be fine.



She's 60. She still has an active sex life and the ability to pursue relationships. She has a career. She has friends who spend time with her. She has the admiration and respect of huge numbers of people for doing a something she enjoys. She's in relatively good health. She still looks snatched.

What do most people have at 60?

I'm not a huge fan of Sex and the City, but I find this conservative obsession with it ridiculous. Candace was writing about experiences she had in her 30s. She got married in her 40s and divorced a decade later. She had a whole life after Sex and the City, and conservatives picking on one interview where she talks about how hard her divorce was and how it might be easier for someone with children and construing that as "regret" is just desperate.

It makes me wonder whether having children has really made you happy, or whether you've just convinced yourself that not having children would have made you miserable.
When I was in my thirties and forties, I didn’t think about it. Then when I got divorced and I was in my fifties, I started to see the impact of not having children and of truly being alone. I do see that people with children have an anchor in a way that people who have no kids don’t.’

I want women to think about it.

Germain Greer herself said that Feminism is fine when you are young but she imagines a world full of older women in nursing homes screaming "FUDGE!!!!" though the word she used was not fudge.

As I am old now, I'm seeing the impact of not thinking about it hit women in my family and it isn't pretty.


I don't really have any interest in having children and even less in the processes required to produce said children, but I'm a little worried about how it might be like to get old without the kind of support network you get from kids. I've been helping out my grandparents for a long time, and it's a little scary when I consider who I'm going to have to rely on when I'm their age.
There will be further government supports for the elderly in old age homes. It is less about will you survive than how you will survive. Institutions rather than family?
You'll probably be relying on robots when you're their age. Drones delivering your food on command when you tell alexa you're hungry, a network of rombas cleaning your house, a self driving car getting you around town. And you'll hate all of it because you'll be old and crotchety and telling everyone it was better back in your day.
We will be challenged about what it even is to be human increasingly in the future. Sex robots, ectogenisis, robot child care, companionship and more.


Even entertainment

 
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Dalisclock

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It's not like it would be an issue if we went back to 2 billions. Heck with advance in automation and AI in 2120 I'm guessing 90+% of the population will have no useful skill whatsoever. And we're not even talking about potential leap in anti aging science.

The only potential issue I could see (and that's stretching quite a bit) is if we tried to colonize other planet, but at that point we'll probably be able to make artificial human anyway.
Well, the problem with colonizing other problems isn't population. It's limitations on both transportation and sustaining the colonists. Right now the planet supports something like 3-6 people at a time aboard the ISS with regular supply runs. That's half a dozen people in Low Earth Orbit, which is IMMENSELY easier then sending people to live on the Moon or even Mars. Even once we have the ability to land humans on another planet/moon(which we currently don't), getting enough people there and the means to sustain them is going to take a LONG time. Decades at least.

I know Elon Musk is promising a Mars colony in the not too distant future but that all seems be riding on his unproven STARSHIP, which I'm currently waiting to see if it actually works. He hasn't even gotten a Crewed Dragon into space yet, which isn't exactly helping the "We're gonna go to Mars! Weeee!" pitch
 

Terminal Blue

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The tweet from Candace that I just quoted is her responding to someone citing this Daily Mail article with the claim that she "regrets" not having children. I think we can consider that a fairly conclusive statement on the issue. She does not "regret" not having children.


Germain Greer herself said that Feminism is fine when you are young but she imagines a world full of older women in nursing homes screaming "FUDGE!!!!" though the word she used was not fudge.
And what exactly do you imagine the problem is?

Is the problem that elderly women will not have sufficient financial or emotional support unless they have children?
Is the problem that elderly women will feel some sense of personal failure or responsibility for society because, in spite of any useful, important and rewarding things they did, they didn't reproduce enough?
Is the problem that God will smite women with terrible sadness for failing to accord to their divinely given nature?

See, Germaine Greer is someone noone takes seriously any more, because she's kind of a horrible person. Most feminists would look at women existing in a state of oppression and conclude that the problem is oppression, and that effort should be made to correct the material features of society which harm or disadvantage women. Greer looks at the same oppression and concludes instead that the problem is women. Her position, in essence, is that trying to change the world is pointless and futile, and what women really need to do is to just be so #girlboss that oppression doesn't affect them. Unsurprisingly, this is a weak and unsatisfying approach that doesn't work. Not because feminism is flawed and a bad idea, but because Greer is an idiot who is (seemingly deliberately) missing the solutions that would be obvious if we treated oppression as a bad thing.

If you're worried that women might not be able to financially support themselves without children, then the solution is obvious. Create a system of social care that can provide for people regardless of whether they have children.

If you're worried about women's emotional wellbeing because they might be missing out on the experience of having children, then have you considered why younger women don't want to have children, or how you could change society to make having children more rewarding without relying on essentially consigning half the population to unpaid drudgery?

It is not hard to come up with solutions, at least once you stop thinking like Germaine Greer.

As I am old now, I'm seeing the impact of not thinking about it hit women in my family and it isn't pretty.
Well, I'm not old, but I am old enough that a lot of my friends have had children, and I'm old enough to know that having children is not always the wonderful, life affirming experience people like to pretend or imagine that it is.

I have friends who always wanted children, who genuinely believed that that was the primary thing their life was missing, and who have now had children only to find it wasn't what they expected, or that it didn't give them that feeling of completeness or personal worth that they wanted. I have friends who have found the experience incredibly isolating and disempowering. Heck, I have one friend who suffered such severe post-natal depression that she genuinely felt suicidal. Just because there's an enormous social pressure on people not to admit to regretting having children doesn't mean it doesn't happen. From what I've seen, it's actually very common.
 

gorfias

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Please excuse the abbreviated reply. I tried to post more and it would not let me. Kept giving me an error. Trying to post much less:
The tweet from Candace that I just quoted is her responding to someone citing this Daily Mail article with the claim that she "regrets" not having children. I think we can consider that a fairly conclusive statement on the issue. She does not "regret" not having children.
Did the Daily Times deliberately misquote her? Or she is of two minds on the subject? Can she have felt both true at different times?
This column made huge waves when it came out, only to be retracted later by its author (she said she rethought it and did not mean it:
And what exactly do you imagine the problem is?
That we glamorize the singleton lifestyle which has its costs and benefits. That 30 is not the new 20 and that, fair or not, women have a limited window in which to make decisions that will have a huge impact on their lives. Do we properly inform then of the cost and benefits?

I think today, we celebrate not having kids. Culturally, politically, socially, we are very anti-natalist. But much of your writing again brings me to my point and a personal solution for me, thank you. My issue is that I do not know if 20ish year old women are properly asked if they know and understand the costs and benefits of 1) Having or not having husband, kids and family for themselves and 2) IF they do want those things, do they understand the cost of waiting too long? Rather than lecture my daughter, from what you write, I had best ASK my daughter about her thoughts on the issue. Interject where I think appropriate. Wish me luck.
 

gorfias

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The "you need children to support you in your old age" argument assumes that your children will be capable of such, or be willing to do so. The former is an increasingly dicey proposition, and the latter is never guaranteed.
Another argument for another thread is about how our society is changing. In the 19th Century, extended families were a norm. Not just mom, dad, kids but mom, dad, kids, grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins all living communally. The 1950s family model was an anomoly . Do we go back to the extended family norm? Something closer to Socialism?
The main point of this thread is, are women properly informed of a cost benefit analysis to family formation in their 20s? In my own life, writers on this thread have convinced me that I need to ask, in my case, my daughter for her thoughts rather than lecture her. Interject only where appropriate.