The growth of Childless Society

by: Nisaar Nadiadwala

I met a Muslim couple, whom I already knew, in one of that airport, waiting to catch a flight to New York. I wondered as to why they were still childless. The man replied that they were not ready for children. I hurled my astonishment aloud, “Is it a medical one?” The couple got embarrassed, “No, it’s just a trend in our city”.

One of the prevalent impacts of marriage-less society in the West is reduction of children. Men are afraid of having children because they fear that a probable divorce can snatch away their children along with the ‘punishment of a sentence to support regular expenses of the children’ too. Women too are delaying motherhood for many reasons, most prominent being an insecure married life and the desire to enjoy a youthful life before being ‘bogged up’ with kids.

A report from the Daily Mail informs about such women who celebrate late ‘Mommy-hood’ like Patti Farrant, a 67 years old, who gave birth to her baby in 2006 when she was 62. Most of the British and American women are delaying their motherhood in exchange for career and fun.

The average age of British mothers giving birth is now 31- The highest ever! While the number of women waiting until their 40s to have a baby has gone up to 7% in one year and doubled in a decade to more than 22,000 annually. The Daily Telegraph posted an article regarding Motherhood in Britain, and they admitted that financial insecurity is one of the reasons for delayed motherhood and more than half of the babies are born out of wedlock! Jennifer Lopez had twins at 38. In the mid to late 1950’s, the median marriage age for women was 19 in Britain. Then it was updated with The National Center for Health Statistics stating that in the 24 years between 1980 and 2004, the number of women giving birth at age of 30 has doubled, at age 35, tripled and after age 40 has almost quadrupled. Forty is the new twenty.

Once, Italy, Greece and Spain were synonymous with fruitful families. Now, they are tied for “Europe’s lowest birthrate”. In Germany, where the childless rate is the highest in the world, at 25 percent, the bestsellers’ lists have been full of tomes forecasting demographic doomsday .The average age of mothers at their first birth is steadily climbing in developed countries-from age 28 in Canada, Italy and France, to 29 in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan.

Now, many women are regretting for the delay and many will regret after a decade or two, along their governments. Even Putin, the Russian president, declared that the Russian population is declining by 7 lac a year! Demographers say that on an average, women must have two kids for a society to replace it. However, it is not so in Europe. The Greeks beget only 1.3 children per woman. The Newsweek May 29, 2006, said: By not having children, people are voting against their country’s future and their own.

Nevertheless, which are the two Nations who have a large number of children? The population of children between the ages of 1-14 years in Saudi is 38% of its total Population followed by India at 31%. No wonder in a decade, when Europe will run short of youth, Indians and Saudis will be exporting their manpower to run these Nations. After all, Allah calls kids as His blessings. Refer to Surah Nahl ch 16, verse 72: And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates, and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren, and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah, they disbelieve?