From the sometimes incomprehensible xkcd comes this, which is entirely comprehensible.

Ask Europeans if they understand it now that their economies are collapsing, there isn’t any one to pay for their pensions, and a younger generation will soon start to euthanize those who are drawing on the system.

Double. Income. No. Kids.

On the other hand, there are some groups who are having lots of kids!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Maggie says:

    Demographic winter is coming for the West. Within a dozen generations, it’ll basically be faithful Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, and the Duggers left. The post-moderns who see children as a burden will have, essentially, bred themselves out of existence.

  2. mike cliffson says:

    Western Europe:
    One generation, NOT 12
    The second of your groups.The rest are nowhere in comparison, numberswise.
    Check it out, it´s not secret.

  3. Boanerges says:

    We’ve yet to find a window sticker with eleven kids…perhaps one more realistic that says “My kids are paying your pension”…

  4. inara says:

    I guess we’re SINK’s (single income, 9 kids…and a silly stick family window decal, which we got before they were quite so ubiquitous)…Boanerges, I like your bumper sticker idea! :o)

  5. AnAmericanMother says:

    As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

  6. bookworm says:

    I have only one child myself (wanted more but it didn’t happen) so I have to sincerely THANK all you parents of larger families out there for picking up my demographic slack (and that of my daughter, whom I suspect will never marry or have children of her own due to her autism… but I could be wrong.) In the meantime I will try my best to worthily earn the pension/Social Security your kids will be paying for :-)

  7. CatholicDRE says:

    When God said to go forth and multiply he didn’t mean your bank account. What a shame.

  8. frjim4321 says:

    Was pretty sad last weekend at a wedding bumped into a kid I knew from YM in the early ’90’s. He introduced me to his wife and I guess I made quite the gaff and asked if there were any little ones (yes, very rude, but the Jack Daniels was flowing) and was informed by them that no, they have chosen to be childless. They were married about 3.5 years ago in a Catholic church. Somebody must not have asked them about the intention to have children.

    Recently I have been struck by two things. First, there are a LOT of couples who are not able to have kids naturally, and it is a very heartbreaking for them. Second, there are a LOT of kids who are adopted, more than I realized. At last year’s confirmation retreat at just one table of kids there were three that were adopted from Russia.

    Most married couples that I know try to have at least two kids with the idea that they should reproduce at least to the level of replacement. Seems like there are a lot of families with two kids and a few more with three. I think most of the ones without any are not by choice – but some are. Not many with more than three.

    If I had the chance I’d be intrigued with the idea of three or four (four sibs in my family growing up). Leaves me cold and sad hearing from a very good looking young couple bringing home close to $200k/yr that they don’t want kids.

  9. priests wife says:

    bookworm- you might be called to being a spiritual mother to many- maybe as a catechist or using whatever talent God has given you

  10. Theodore says:

    over 100 years ago TR preached against limiting family size.


  11. I find that xkcd is completely comprehensible. Oh….. that explains why I have no piles of money nor kids.

  12. albizzi says:

    “Ask Europeans if they understand it now that their economies are collapsing”

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf, do you really believe that if Europe will collapse, the US will not? [Is that what I wrote?]
    The West countries are all boarded together in the same ship.

  13. albinus1 says:

    When I lived in Rome for the summer, six years ago, I noticed after awhile that, on average, for every young couple I saw out pushing a baby stoller, I must have seen about five young couples walking a dog.

  14. RichR says:

    The drawing above looks like my driveway: a Toyota Sienna next to a Honda Fit.

    We’re looking at the birth of our fourth boy any time in the next two weeks. We feel blessed that God would entrust to us these little gems to mold into disciples. But while quite a few couples out there are closing themselves off to life, there are many who are very sad they either could not have kids or did not have more. God works through our faithfulness, our trust in the face of despair, and even our repentance of selfishness (hopefully, if it is not too late).

    As far as the naysayers who love to poke fun at parents of large families (sometimes, quite aggressively and with a sad lack of fraternal charity), I try to pray for them. Maybe God will reach out to them through our joyful, patient witness.

    As far as the economics, I tell people, “Do you think I trust the Government and Social Security more than my kids to help me out in my final years?” Having a large family helps divide the load of “taking care of Mom and Dad” when that time comes.

  15. RMT says:

    Boanerges: “We’ve yet to find a window sticker with eleven kids…perhaps one more realistic that says “My kids are paying your pension”…”

    My friend saw one with twelve kids, four dogs and three cats in Knoxville, TN the other day. The kids didn’t fit one the part of the window before the wiper blade, so the two kids at the end were sideways going up around the arm of the wiper.

  16. Random Friar says:

    Son of Thunder, I too have seen decals with a dozen+ Always a homeschool group, if not at first, then at least later on in childrearing.

    As a whole, we must be the only creature in nature that seeks self-extinction.

  17. Neal says:

    The link below (and I really hope it appears) is to the first part of a video on Youtube explaining the demographic situation of the West and the world. I’m neither an economist nor a demographer, but the points made seem evident and commonsensical. All the parts are on Youtube; total runtime is approximately 1 hour.


  18. TheMother says:

    Boanerges: May I steal your line to make a bumper sticker? [There are plenty of companies online which will produce a single custom sticker at a reasonable price.] Ta.

  19. Kathy C says:

    Bookworm, we have a problem with people who decline to have children because it’s too much bother and money for them. There have always been people who couldn’t have children for one reason or another, and they were always the ones the community tried to care for in their old age. That’s what community is for. We have to remember that childlessness isn’t a problem in itself, but selfishness is.

  20. Cephas218 says:

    “Within a dozen generations, it’ll basically be faithful Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, and the Duggers left.”

    Unfortunately (or fortunately), each child from large families has been given free will by God to choose him. As in the beginning of salvation history, not all the sons of God chose him. How can we expect all of our children to choose him? It takes a lot more to make a Christian society than simply reproduce: we must educate in the Faith, pray and sacrifice. Even the “childless” can do as much. Unfortunately (really this time) I don’t think most dinks are anywhat clued in to this reality.

  21. Supertradmum says:

    We used to call them in the Midwest, “Dinkis”–dual income, no kids intended…God can surprise even Dinkis with children. As to the window stickers, I almost crashed into an SUV in front of my PT Cruiser in Missouri last summer, when I pulled up behind stickers of Dad, Mom, two sets of twins-girls, two boys and multiple pets. The family indeed had two sets of girl twins. Loved it. As to Western Civilization having committed suicide years ago, we shall see the inevitable rise of the Asian countries, with India leading, according to the latest demographics, as China falls behind because of the old one-child policy, which is slowly breaking down in China, as the powers that be see the future coming to pass. Infrastructures in Canada are breaking down now because of the low birthrate and it is only a very brief matter of time, fifteen years or so, before the infrastructures of Europe and the US simple do not have the people-power to make things work. A generation is now considered every fifteen years, instead of the more traditional twenty-five. In Ireland, there are already “ghost-towns”, where housing is being purposefully destroyed never having been sold as the population plummets. This is irreversible and we who see this need to be prepared for a completely different standard of living, for without infrastructures supported by the young workers, civilizations simply disappear and become either wastelands of anarchy, or extinct.

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