Founded in the 1968, zero population growth was an ideal popularized by three environmental activists. The idea was that women would only have 2 children thereby replacing only themselves and a spouse. They also predicted “cataclysmic disasters, including global famines and a substantial increase in the world death rate.” in the 1970s per www.discoverthenetworks.org. Obviously, that didn’t work out as they had thought. Years later, they changed their name to Population Control and continue their work today with more than 40,000 members and nearly 4.5 million in assets. One of their major “raison d’etre” is to lobby Congress asking the lawmakers to pass legislation to reduce the size of the family along. What I find disturbing is that they have an offshoot called PETNet which stands for Population Educator Trainers Network. PETNet was established to train teachers “how to incorporate environmental and population issues into classroom materials.” (same source)
In the 1970’s, China forbade their citizens from having more than one child for urban couples and two for rural couples thereby lowering their population to the 1.3 billion now. So, now, the world’s population stands at more than six billion people. I suspect that what neither China nor the Population Control people took into account was that the price of having and rearing a child would explode so mercilessly. When I had my first child, it cost my husband and I $12.00 for the doctor to run a pregnancy test. Six years later, our cost was approximately $250 to have our daughter. Now, it runs into the thousands for a couple to have a child.
As we all know, the stuff you need for a child is endless and expensive. They constantly need clothes due to growth, food, toys, doctor visits and the list goes on and on. Next, they need education. With public schools, which are free, there are still an abundance of fees, expenses, and costs. Private schools now cost nearly as much as state colleges not to mention the need for a computer, their activities, and sports gear. It adds up and adds up quickly. Meanwhile, both parents must work to afford housing, utilities, and other basic needs not to mention all the family’s wants.
So, where does all this lead? I’m not sure. Family is a good thing. It provides the richness to our lives much as whipped cream and the cherry do to a sundae. What would life be like without the precious smile of a baby or the laughter of a toddler enchanted with something adults don’t even consciously register? It would be a sadder place I think. A family should be what it wants to be including the number of people in it.