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Recent polls show a dramatic drop in what we consider the ideal number of children to have. According to Gallup and the Pew Research Center,

In 1971, there was a shift in attitudes, as Americans’ “ideal” family switched from four kids (19%) to two kids (38%), with a mean saying 2.9 kids was ideal. Back in 1936, the mean ideal number of kids was 3.6, with 22% saying four children; 32% saying three children; and another 32% saying two children. Fast-forward from the 1930s to 2013, the most recent data available, and you get a different picture, with 2.6 as the mean ideal.

Pew attributes much of the change to access to contraception, women’s participation the workforce, and the rising cost of raising kids. Moreover,

Not only do Americans say smaller families are more ideal, they’re also having smaller families. In 1976, 36% of women in their early 40s had given birth to four or more children, while just 22% gave birth to two children.But according to 2014 data, it’s more common nowadays for women of the same age to have two children: 35% gave birth to two children, while just 12% had four or more.

What neither Pew nor Gallup mention is what would have happened without the trend toward smaller families, a trend that occurred worldwide. One United Nations prediction showed that the world’s population would’ve risen to 256 billion by 2150 had the global fertility rate remained at its 1995 level of 3.04 children per woman, rather than dropping to 2.52 in 2010.

The Having Kids model — which promotes families working together to invest more in each child — is on trend. It’s part of a vital evolution in parenting that is making the world a better place. You can be part of this change.

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