Why European Families Are Growing Smaller
In an interview with The Hoover Institute, political journalist and activist James Kirchick states that hopelessness is the reason many European parents choose not to have children. He and many other secular sources show that there’s never been a more crucial need for parents to receive the hope of Jesus Christ in fulfilling the Genesis Commission.
To listen to James Kirchick speak, you get the impression that he’s a man accustomed to having answers – even if those answers get him in trouble. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, bold, articulate, and cool as a cucumber under fire.
Yet in a discussion about his new book The End of Europe with Hoover Institution research fellow Tod Lindberg, Kirchick encountered a question to which he had no answer…
And he was honest enough to say so.
Why are Europeans having so few babies and how can they save their society from being crowded out by immigrant cultures with higher birth rates?
The questioner gets right to the point, using France as an example. By the year 2025, France’s population will be split 50/50 between citizens born to French parents and those born to immigrant families.
This means France is in danger of losing its cultural heritage by depending on immigrant populations with big families to bolster its population rather than relying on and incentivizing French families to raise larger families. While this may solve the labor crisis by providing young workers to support the French economy, it also threatens to dilute the French way of life by importing massive volumes of people from another culture who are not assimilating culturally into French society.
Crudely put, if immigrant families cannot (or will not) be properly assimilated into French society, their hearts will remain anything but French… even though they may be French on paper.
By sheer numbers, French values such as democracy, individual freedom, and gender equality will be washed out by a rising tide of immigrants whose values contradict these ideals – and who have no problem having large families.
In the face of this looming crisis, James Kirchick has very little answers, but he does hit on a truth that is profound.
“I don’t know how you reverse [the low birth rate]. It is emblematic of what a society believes about itself and its future.
If you’re not having children, on an aggregate level, if a society is not producing future generations, than it can’t be that optimistic about its future.
Some people have tied this to the decline of religion, of the decline of Christianity. Maybe that has something to do with it. I don’t know how you reverse that. I’m not sure it can be solved.
I believe Europeans have to have more confidence in their societies, and they’ll probably start to have more children.”
According to Kirchick, Europeans have lost hope – and with it, the desire to reproduce.
It’s not a biological issue. It’s not a political issue. It’s a heart issue.
People are afraid. They’ve lost hope. They have little to no confidence in the world into which they would raise their children – so better to not have any at all.
The truth of this realization cannot be overstated.
Fear reigns the culture of death.
Fear drives the abortion industry as hopeless women struggle with the idea of what a baby will do to their future. Abortion advocates prey upon this fear by offering a permanent solution the uncertainty.
Instead of conquering fear with hope, abortion seeks to kill the object of the fear… to eliminate the uncertainty of an unborn child.
Fear also drives self-sterilization as individuals struggle with the idea of what having children will do to their future.
Many young parents fear they will not be able to provide for a growing family financially, that they’ll not be able to give sufficient love and attention to each child, or even that they’ll no longer be attractive after bearing children.
Kirchick analysis is right in this: Low birth rates do indicate low “hope rates.”
For Kirchick, it’s a lack of hope – or confidence – in society that dampens family size. So, for him the answer to the demographic and cultural problem facing countries like France is to strengthen their faith in society.
But this can’t work. It’s not even logical!
If a lack of hope in society causes low birth rates, then the immigrants should be the ones suffering the most.
The majority of immigrants fleeing to Europe come from the most unstable, hopeless societies in the world. They’re not coming to Europe to destroy Europe. They’re coming to Europe looking for a more stable, secure future for themselves and their families.
So why are the birth rates among refugee families so much higher than that of relatively secure European families?
If Kirchick’s logic were correct, these immigrant families would be aborting their babies and controlling their birth rate even more so than families of Western countries.
There’s no reason parents of developed countries like France or the United States should have less trust in their societies than a refugee – yet these refugee families are conspicuously larger than their Western counterparts.
This leads to the conclusion that the Western world doesn’t need more hope or trust in society to revive their dying cultures.
Families need hope in something that transcends culture, society, and government.
Only a solid hope in the goodness, providence, and power of God through Jesus Christ can resurrect these modern families that have lost their hope.
“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” – Romans 10:11