October 9, 2006


Bigger families gain in popularity (David Crary, 10/09/06, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It's barely a blip on the nation's demographic radar -- 11 percent of U.S. births in 2004 were to women who already had three children, up from 10 percent in 1995. But there seems to be a growing openness to having more than two children, in some case more than four.

The reasons are diverse -- from religious to, as Mrs. Bennett reasons, "Why not?"

These families cut across economic lines, though a sizable part of the increase is attributed to a baby boom in affluent suburbs, with more upper-middle-class couples deciding that a three- or four-child household can be both affordable and fun. [...]

The Census Department says it has no national data specifying which demographic sectors are having more kids these days. But a leading authority on family size, Duke University sociologist Philip Morgan, says it makes sense that some well-off couples are opting for more children as concern about global overcrowding eases because of lowering birth rates overall.

"The population explosion -- fears about that are over," he said. "People used to think that having more than two kids was not only expensive but immoral. Now, people say if you can afford three kids, four kids, that's great."

Children as status symbols and peer pressure for larger families are unique to America in the developed world.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2006 8:15 AM

At our church the familes average around 3 kids, 4-5 is not uncommon, and one family has 9 and another 10.

Posted by: Gideon at October 9, 2006 11:20 AM

I just came back from a friend's wedding in Minnesota, and a lot of folks I knew in high school were there. I already knew that a lot of one-time classmates are married now, but it was still surreal to see so many of them with wives and occasionally children. Time rushes on.

(My friends persuaded me to continue a recent tradition by singing "Rocky Top" for the crowd. You'll note I'm still unmarried.)

Posted by: Matt Murphy at October 9, 2006 7:50 PM


Our average is five; many families with seven. Motivated by recent posts regarding this issue, I did a survey a few Sundays ago to determine why they had big families. Responses differed but the bottom line in every case was “Children are a blessing”.

Posted by: TGN at October 10, 2006 12:00 AM