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Apologies for breaking in on the “frum” party, as I am not even Jewish. However I’m a devout Catholic in favor of large families and don’t believe in using birth control. These societal issues are fascinating to me and I think maybe an outside perspective would be useful here. Although I’m devout, I live in the mainstream and know many people who have totally different views.
I would say that women working outside the home is not the major factor, especially since a lot of families can afford to have childcare and even nannies. And, it’s not those who can’t afford it who don’t have children. Birth control is probably the top factor, followed by later marriage and a different focus.
First, birth control. Most people do indeed prefer small families or even no children at all. The idea that having a big family is doing a good deed or a mitzvah of some kind is totally foreign to most Americans. Catholic mothers with a lot of children get scoldings from strangers in the grocery store. Couples try to do the “right thing” have a maximum of two children to “replace them” without increasing the population. One of my cousins wrote an article for Ms. magazine about how the way to solve climate change is “family planning”. Quite a few couples get married planning in advance to have *no children*. Birth control is seen as a huge blessing that gives women more freedom to decide when and how many children they will have.
Then, there are the societal changes that come from different expectations for women. We are now expected to be independent and be able to make a living. It’s very difficult to make a living without higher education, so most women go to college now. It is possible to go to college, equip oneself to make a living, and then focus on family. But going to college delays marriage because it’s not well looked on to get married before or during college, and there is societal pressure to use one’s education for work, not just as a backup, so women put off children longer and longer.
Ultimately, most Americans see increasing the population or even sustaining it at the same level as a problem, and reduced fertility and birth control as the solution. I hope you find this helpful!