Sunday, May 14, 2006

Low German fertility

LA Times op-ed:
THE GERMAN PUBLIC was recently shocked to learn that 30% of "their" women are childless -- the highest proportion of any country in the world. And this is not a result of infertility; it's intentional childlessness.

Demographers are intrigued. German nationalists, aghast. Religious fundamentalists, distressed at the indication that large numbers of women are using birth control.

And evolutionary biologists (including me) are asked, "How can this be?" If reproduction is perhaps the fundamental imperative of natural selection, of our genetic heritage, isn't it curious -- indeed, counterintuitive -- that people choose, and in such large numbers, to refrain from participating in life's most pressing event?
The rate is 40% for female German college graduates.

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