PRESENTED TO THE FORUM, “THE FAMILY AS
THE FOUNDATION FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,” ORGANIZED BY FOCUS ON THE
FAMILY, WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 27, 2005
“Sweden has solved the population and
family problems of modern societies.
The depopulation that threatens all of the developed, industrial world
has been countered there by an aggressive, feminist-inspired reconstruction of
the family and by the single-minded pursuit of gender equality in all other
aspects of social, cultural, and economic life.”
These two sentences represent the
essence of the dominant family policy vision emerging within the European
Union. They are advanced by most
European policy experts with an almost religious zeal. As Jean-Claude Chesnois summarizes, “in
Sweden,…empowerment of women insures against a very low birth rate.” With Sweden especially in mind, sociologist
McDonald asserts that “[i]n a context of high gender equity in
individual-oriented institutions, higher gender equity in family-oriented
will tend to raise fertility.” J.M. Hoem links Sweden’s success to a
“softening” of “the effects of women’s labor force participation on their
sufficiently to reduce the inherent role conflict [relative to motherhood] to a
manageable level.” Other recent articles claim to show that the
gender equality provisions of Sweden’s generous parental leave benefit, which
push fathers into staying at home with infants while the mothers work, actually
increase the odds of having a second or third child. Referring to Sweden, Paul Demeny concludes
that “[f]ew social policies enjoy greater unqualified support from demographers
and sociologists than those seeking” to make “participation of women in the
labor force compatible with raising children.”
Of course, the deeper source of
anxiety driving these analysts is the plummeting fertility of the European
peoples, a continent-wide development.
In the year 2000, the whole of Europe (from Iceland to European Russia)
recorded a Total Fertility Rate of only 1.37, roughly meaning that the average
European woman will bear 1.37 children during her lifetime, only 65
percent of the level needed to replace a generation. In that same year, 2000, 17 European nations
already recorded an absolute decline in numbers, with deaths outnumbering
births. Within two decades, all
European nations—with the possible exception of tiny Iceland—will predictably
be in the same circumstance. Some
regions of Spain (such as Catalonia and the Basque country), of Italy
(including Rome, Venicia, and Tuscany), and of Germany (such as Saxony) have
total fertility rates well below 1.0.
In Northern Europe, marriage is increasingly rare, replaced by
cohabitation; in Southern Europe, young adults increasingly avoid both
marriage and cohabitation, refusing to form childbearing unions of any
sort. This is the essence of the joint
European family and population crisis of the 21st Century.
We can see an extreme illustration of
this crisis and its geopolitical implications by comparing the populations—past,
present, and future—of two nations: Russia and the poor, Middle-Eastern, Muslim
nation of Yemen. In 1950, the
territory that now composes Russia had a population of 102.7 million. Following the disasters of World Wars I and
II, there was a large surplus of females over males; still, the population
showed some signs of the “pyramid” typical to a growing nation. Yemen, in contrast, was a tiny nation of 4.3
million, with only 4% of the Russian population figure.
By the year 2000, sharp fertility
decline was evident among the Russians, with shrinking numbers of
children. Still, because of past
momentum, its overall population had climbed to 145.5 million. Yemen, meanwhile, with a total fertility
rate of about 7.6 during these years, had grown to 18.3 million, a four-fold
increase over 1950.
For a projection to the year 2050, we
turn to median-level calculations from United Nations demographers. Here, the U.N. predicts (I think
implausibly) an increase in Russia’s TFR of 50 percent by 2050. Even so, Russia’s population tumbles by 40
million, to only 104 million, leaving a nation heavily tilted toward the
elderly. The U.N. demographers also
project a decline in Yemeni fertility by over 50 percent (also, I think,
implausibly) to a TFR of 3.35. Even so,
Yemen’s population would still grow to 102 million, almost equal to that of
We might also compare the 25 nations
of the expanded European Union to 25 Muslim countries of North Africa and West
Asia. Again, using very optimistic assumptions
for Europe (a rise in the TFR of 30 percent to 1.82 and the annual entry of
500,000 immigrants), the European population still falls from 451 million in
2000 to 401 million in 2050; while the population of North Africa and West Asia
more than doubles from 587 million in 2000 to nearly 1.3 billion in 2050. If these numbers prove to be true, the
migratory pressures on Europe from these nations, which are already large, will
become enormous, indeed uncontrollable.
Despite the surge in population growth
over the last 40 years, and the teeming new industrial cities, China is
actually not far removed from the same scenario as in Russia. As Phillip Longman sums up in his 2004 book,
Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity [And
What To Do About It]:
consensus among Beijing’s population experts is that the average woman in China
today bears somewhere between 1.5 and 1.65 children, whereas 2.1 are needed to
replace the population…..If China’s birthrate remains unchanged,…[it] will join
the ranks of Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Spain—countries that stand to
lose 20-30 percent of their population over the next 50 years.
underscores the effects of this change on the structure of the population:
2040, according to official estimates, 26 percent of China’s population will be
60 or older, giving China an age structure similar to Florida’s today. Increasingly, China is becoming what
demographer Xiaochun Qiao calls a ‘4-2-1’ society, in which one child must
support two parents and four grandparents.
demographic shift has the potential to overwhelm the Chinese economic
miracle. As the Chinese author Lin Ying
explains: “Whereas the now-developed countries first got rich and then got old,
China will first get old.”
Returning to Europe, Sweden now
charges to that continent’s rescue, with claims of a unique solution to the
joint family and population crisis, a solution which is applicable to all of
Europe. Recently, the Swedish
Institute—what might be called that government’s propaganda arm on social and
cultural matters—published a paper entitled “Gender Equality—A Key to Our
Future?” The author, Lena Sommestad, is
professor of economic history at Uppsala University and director of the Swedish
Institute for Future Studies. This
short document perfectly outlines the Swedish family policy model for the
Professor Sommestad’s essay claims
that Europe’s challenge of declining birth rates, population aging, tumbling
marriage rates, and rising out-of-wedlock births has two sources: female
emancipation and “a crisis of the traditional European male breadwinner
family.” She says that nations such as
Germany, Italy, and Spain, which have tried to protect or shore up the male
breadwinner and his homemaking wife, have failed to understand the irrelevance
of these roles for the future, and have paid the price with extremely low
Sweden, in contrast, has recognized
women’s full emancipation and complete gender equality as “social facts,” and
as the keys to a sustainable future.
Professor Sommestad points to the theories of Alva Myrdal from the
1930’s; she had also argued that under modern conditions, the
breadwinner-homemaker model, premised on a family wage for fathers, could no
longer produce a sufficient number of children. Myrdal instead insisted that “declining fertility rates should be
fought with increased gender equality.”
This idea, Professor Sommestad admits, went dormant in Sweden during the
1940’s and 1950’s when, during a time of affluence, male-breadwinner families
become common in Sweden (another author calls this “the era of the Swedish
housewife”). However, “[f]rom the 1960s
and onwards, a growing number of Swedish women returned to gainful employment,
and by the early 1970’s, the two-breadwinner norm had been firmly established.” Today, Sommestad continues:
gender equality policies build on a strong tradition of pro-natalist and
supportive social policies….No entitlements are targeted at women in their
capacity as wives. The state uses
separate taxation, generous public day-care provision for pre-school children,
and extensive programmes of parental leave to encourage married women/mothers
to remain at gainful employment.
Revealingly, Professor Sommestad
argues that “[P]opulation ageing, problematic as it is, may prove to be a
window of opportunity for radical gender-equality reform.” Feminists, she says, “must overcome their
traditional suspicion of demographic arguments and develop [instead] a new,
progressive population discourse.”
During the 1930’s, Alva Myrdal proposed using the birth rate crisis as
“a battering ram” for radical feminist social reform. Dr. Sommestad now does so again, although this time on a larger
European canvas. She claims:
birth rates are particularly low in countries that support traditional patterns
of marriage and breadwinning….[S]ince the early 1980’s, high birth rates in the
industrialized world have tended to go hand in hand with a high level of female
labour-force participation….In short: women’s access to the labour market
appears to be a prerequisite for a higher birth rate.
Sommestad also adds “that countries that do not stigmatize non-marital cohabitation
or extra-marital births have a better chance of maintaining higher fertility
levels.” Moreover, the Swedish model
shows that to raise the birth rate, men must also take on “a greater
responsibility” for child care.
In sum, using less lofty language, the
Swedish model of family policy sees radical feminism as the answer
to the fertility crisis. If European
peoples want to survive in the 21st century, she argues, they should
eliminate the full-time mother and homemaker, crush the family
wage idea, abolish the home as an economic institution, welcome
out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation, push all women—especially actual
or potential mothers—into the labor
force, enforce strict gender equality in all areas of life, re-engineer
men into childcare-givers, and embrace expensive state child allowances,
parental leave, and public day care programs.
The result—almost by magic—will be more babies!
These are not just the ideas of
academics, I hasten to add. In its
official statement of policy toward the European Union, the Swedish government
summarizes its goal in one sentence: “We want to see a Union that is open,
effective and gender equal.” Let
me underscore this: the attainment of the feminist agenda is Sweden’s
primary purpose within the EU. This
government statement from April 2004 elaborates:
has a particular responsibility for increasing
the pace of gender equality efforts in Europe. Decisions have already been taken to the effect that an equal
opportunity perspective shall permeate all aspects of the EU’s employment
strategy. Gender equality aspects should
be integrated into all areas of policy.
Modern family policies that promote the supply of labour regarding both
women and men and which enable family life to be combined with a professional
life, are needed in order to meet the demographic challenges Europe faces.
official documents pouring out of the European Commission emphasize ever
greater attention to gender equality and harmonization of European family
policy around the Swedish model, stressing “an individualization of rights” and
a “new gender balance in working life” involving basic “changes in family
So what shall we make out of all
this? To begin with, I do want to admit
that there are aspects of the modern Swedish model of family policy that
are attractive, at least to this social conservative. To begin with, the Swedish system does do a
better job of bonding newborns to mothers and fathers, in the short run. The generous “parents insurance” program
provides new parents with 390 days of paid leave, at 90 percent of salary, and
another 90 days at a lower allowance.
This means that virtually all Swedish children enjoy full time parental
care during their first 13 months of life (compared to only a third of infants
in the United States). This also allows
new Swedish mothers to breastfeed their newborns. Again, the majority of
Swedish babies enjoy the health-giving effects of mothers milk for at least six
months, compared to only 20 percent in the United States. And even some of the more coercive aspects
of Sweden’s parents insurance program—such as the requirement that fathers take
45 days of the paid parental leave for the couple to receive the full
benefit—these have their human side: it turns out that Swedish fathers have a
strong preference toward taking their parental leave during Sweden’s
But that is about it. For the other claims by advocates for the
Swedish model—particularly the claim that this approach will be Europe’s
demographic salvation—quite simply vanish under scrutiny.
To begin with, the Swedish model of
family policy has not solved the birth dearth in that land. Assertions that it has rely on a peculiar
development during the 1988-1993 period, which has since proven ephemeral. Consider these Total Fertility Rates for
Sweden, by year:
you can see, during the last decade of Sweden’s “breadwinner father/homemaking
mother” era, 1960-69, the nation had a fertility rate well above the
replacement level of 2.10. Contrary to
assertions by Alva Myrdal and Lena Sommestad, this “family policy” system
clearly succeeded relative to population.
However, once Sweden implemented the new model built on the
deconstruction of marriage, out-of-wedlock births, working mothers, parents
insurance, and day care, fertility fell by 30 percent to 1.61 by
1983. However, during the late 1980’s,
the number apparently started climbing again, reaching 2.11 in 1991, just above
the replacement level. Progressive
social analysts around the European continent shouted hosannas! Sweden had found the answer! But it did not last. By 1993, fertility was falling again, and by
2003, Sweden—at 1.54—was close to the European Union average. Indeed, in the year 2000, Sweden joined that
grim group of nations where deaths actually exceed births: more coffins than
It turns out that Sweden’s “success” in the early
1990’s was a statistical fluke. A
change in policy regarding eligibility for parents insurance, called a “speed
premium,” had the one-time effect of reducing the spacing between first and
second births; but this change did not significantly increase the total
number of children born per family. Judged empirically, then, the Swedish model
simply does not work.
Second, Professor Sommestad’s brief
history of the introduction of Sweden’s new family policy during the 1960’s
grossly overlooks its radical and coercive nature. As honest Swedish feminist historians have admitted, there was no
pressure for change from young Swedish housewives and mothers during the
mid-1960’s. By all accounts, they were
largely happy with their lot. Instead,
the pressure came from other directions.
Government planners in the Labor Ministry foresaw labor shortages in
Sweden’s future. Instead of opening the
doors to greater immigration, though, they decided to pull Sweden’s young
mothers into the workplace.
At the same time, the radical wing of
Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic party took power, inaugurating what feminist
historian Yvonne Hirdman calls Sweden’s “Red Years,” 1967-1976. As their heart was a massive “gender turn”
that would radically alter the nature of marriage and family in Sweden. In 1968, the Social Democrats joined with
the labor unions in a joint report concluding that “there are…strong reasons
for making the two-breadwinner family the norm” in all welfare and social
policies. The next year, our old friend
Alva Myrdal chaired a major panel “On Equality,” which concluded that “[i]n the
society of the future,…the point of departure must be that every adult is
responsible for his/her own support.
Benefits previously inherited in married status should be eliminated.” The Report also called for an end to tax
policies that favored marriage. In 1969, a Ministry of Justice committee
declared Swedish marriage law “clearly anachronistic,” based as it was on the
now discredited Christian notion of “two becoming one flesh.” Instead, the law should focus on the new
imperative of “personal fulfillment.”
In 1971, Sweden’s Parliament abolished the income tax system favoring
marriage, so giving this land the most “fully individualized taxation system”
in the world. According to analyst Sven
Steinmo, this single change “more or less eradicated” the traditional home in
Sweden. The Family Law Reform of 1973 introduced
“no-fault” divorce, deeming it “only natural that if one of the spouses is
dissatisfied, he or she may demand a divorce.”
All social and welfare benefits tied to marriage were abolished. By the time the Social Democrats were driven
out of office in 1976, their forced revolution in family life was complete; the
Swedes had been re-engineered into a post-family order.
Moreover, Sweden—and Europe as a whole—now
finds itself in new circumstances where the old calculations no longer
apply. In the year 2000, a team of
demographers reports in Science magazine, Europe’s
population reached a vital turning point.
Until then, although fertility was abnormally low, the overall age
structure of the continent still had a “positive momentum;” that is, long term
stability could still be gained if women raised their average family size to
slightly over two. In 2000, however, prior
decades of low fertility produced a new effect. Europe’s population entered into “negative momentum,” which means
that a TFR of 2.1 will no longer suffice to gain even stability. A TFR approaching 4.0 would now be needed to
achieve the same end.
Further, it is becoming increasingly
clear that forced “gender equality” can never be the solution to fertility
decline, no matter how hard feminist analysts work to cook the numbers. For example, a team of analysts recently
noted that the key components to the Swedish model—the reconfiguring of women’s
education into equality with men, the movement of women into previously “all
male” jobs, the deconstruction of marriage—are the very same policies which
have generated dramatic declines in the fertility of women in the developing
world. Contra Alva Myrdal and Professor
Sommestad, you cannot turn a cause of fertility decline into its cure,
no matter how much money you throw at the problem. Indeed, no less an authority than Joseph
Chamie, Director of the Population Division of the United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, concluded earlier this year:
many governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental
organizations, and individuals may strongly support gender equality at work and
in the home as a fundamental principle and desirable goal, it is not at all
evident how having men and women participate equally in employment, parenting
and household responsibilities will raise low levels of fertility. On the contrary, the equal participation of
men and women in the labor force, child rearing, and housework points precisely
in the opposite direction, i.e., below replacement fertility.
The Swedish model flies in the face of
other well documented causes of the decline in fertility. John C. Caldwell, one of the world’s most
eminent demographers, recently examined the dozens of rival theories behind
what he calls “the fertility crisis in modern societies.” He explores the perils of a liberal economy
which create doubts among women whether they should devote themselves to
children. He dissects the special
circumstances behind fertility decline found in Southern, Eastern, and Central
Europe and in Asia. And he considers
the effects of varied social policies on fertility, looking for common
threads. He concludes “that a social
order that does not reproduce itself will be replaced by another” and that the
Swedish model works no better than any other social welfare model in countering
depopulation. In the end, he admits
that he can do no better than repeat the conclusion of Kingsley Davis from
1937, when the Western world faced a similar challenge: “the family is not
indefinitely adaptable to modern society, and this explains the declining birth
Under this explanation, the Swedish model stands
doubly condemned. First, it represents
an attempt to engineer a wholly new family system, which can only fail in face
of the constants of human nature grounded in the natural family. And second, the Swedish model represents a
forced march of all its citizens into modern urban-industrialized society: the
very problem to be overcome.
Taking another broad look at Europe’s
population crisis, Paul Demeny underscores how the two-income, or two-career,
family norm eliminates all incentives to have larger families:
flexible work hours, generous paid vacation, father’s temporary home leave to
care for an infant or a sick child, or other similar benefits—the actual chosen
number of children in two-working-parent families gravitates toward…families
that are either childless or have only one or two children.
adds that as low fertility continues, the elderly base of the electorate grows,
making it highly unlikely that state welfare benefits could ever be rechanneled
toward young families. Demeny
can be taken as highly probable is the failure of the now prevailing orthodoxy
governing European social policies.
These policies will fail to increase fertility up to replacement
levels and thus will fail to prevent the long term numerical decline of
the European population.
Finally, Belgian demographer Ron
Lesthaeghe underscores that “secularization,” defined as “the decrease of
adherence to organized religion,” still serves as “the most powerful variable
at the outset of fertility decline” and “the one with the longest lasting
effect or the highest degree of persistence.” He sees plunging European fertility during
the late 20th Century as simply continuing the “long term shift in
the Western ideational system” away from the values affirmed by Christian
teaching (namely “responsibility, sacrifice, altruism, and sanctity of
long-term commitments”) and toward a militant “secular individualism” focused
on the desires of the self. And as you might guess by now, Sweden leads
Europe in measures of secularism and feminist inspired individualism.
In sum, 21st Century Sweden
embodies, even cherishes, the very social, economic, and cultural qualities
that cause fertility decline.
And we also know that the “magic” of the Swedish model does not really
work. It is a dead-end.
And yet, it is true that
Europe’s other, and older, family policy model—a system premised on the
breadwinner/homemaker model of the 1950’s—has also failed to work since
1970. Still found to some degree in
Germany, this model encourages the full-time maternal care of children through
maternity benefits, child allowances, and homemaker pensions. All the same, Germany’s TFR stands at 1.3,
15 percent below Sweden’s already low figure.
For some reason this approach, which had worked effectively in the decades
following World War II, no longer does.
I suspect that “secularization,” the retreat from faith, is the
cause. In any case, this model also
seems to hold little real promise for the future.
Might Europe as a whole look elsewhere
for answers? Is there any modern
nation that has beat the depopulation problem?
Yes, as a matter-of-fact, there is.
The surprise, perhaps, is that it is the United States of America. As John Caldwell suggests, instead of
studying Europe, “[p]erhaps what [really] needs explanation is the curiously
high fertility of the USA.” Indeed, while the U.S. led the Western world
in fertility decline between 1964 and 1976, the U.S. birth rate began climbing
again during the 1980’s. By 2000, the
USA could claim a Total Fertility Rate of 2.14, by far the highest in the
developed world, and 22 percent above the 1976 level.
One retort is that this must be due to America’s
greater ethnic diversity, particularly to the flow of high fertility Hispanic
immigrants into the USA. This is part
of the puzzle, but not all. In fact,
American women of European descent actually recorded the greatest increase
in fertility between 1976 and 2000, rising 28 percent to 2.114. Another retort is that this American
difference must be due to a rising number of out-of-wedlock births. Again, this is part of the explanation,
especially before 1995, but not the whole story. Rather, marital fertility has also risen: by 11 percent
since 1995. As The Economist magazine
ably summarizes: “Demographic forces are pulling America and Europe
apart…America’s fertility rate is rising; Europe’s is falling. America’s immigration outstrips
Europe’s….America’s population will soon be getting younger. Europe’s is aging.”
The Economist predicts a U.S.
population of 500 million by 2050, an 80 percent increase over the figure for
2000. Indeed, perhaps the European nations should
be looking to America, not to Sweden, for answers.
If they did, what explanations might
they find for this American exceptionalism?
Simply put, pockets of Americans have crafted new ways, often in
spite of poor public policy, to counter the modern forces driving family
fragmentation and fertility decline in the developed world.
To begin with, the last three decades
have witnessed a remarkable experiment in the de-industrialization of a key
aspect of American family life: namely, education. Starting back in the 1840’s, the states had taken over the
schooling of children, using industrial organization to displace parents as the
chief educators of the young.
Demographer Norman Ryder has shown how this modern interruption of the
parent-child bond was critical to the emergence of both “modernity” and
fertility decline. There was a
struggle, he reports, between the traditional family and the modern state for
the minds of the young. The state
school served as “the vehicle for communicating “state morality” and a modern
political mythology designed to displace those of families. And there is clear evidence that this spread
of state schooling was closely tied to a sharp decline in family size among
However, starting in the mid-1970’s,
a growing number of American parents—for various reasons—turned to home
schooling. At first, they faced hostile
state authorities: hundreds were imprisoned for seeking to reclaim this
pre-modern family task. Yet the
movement grew, and by the early 1990’s had regained this natural right in all
50 states. By 2004, over two million
American children were in home schools.
And relative to family life, there was a significant result. Virtually all home schooled students were in
married-couple homes. And 77 percent of
home schooling mothers did not work for pay, compared to 30 percent
nationwide. Importantly, the fertility
of these families was substantially higher.
Sixty-two percent had three or more children, compared to only 20
percent nationwide. And slightly over a
third (33.5 percent) had four or more children, compared to a mere 6 percent in
all homes with children. By rejecting “modern” state education, and
by embracing “pre-modern” approaches, American families grew stronger and
Second, America also rediscovered
about 20 years ago an alternative to state child allowances and paid parental
leave that has a positive fertility effect.
Specifically, after two decades of neglect, the U.S. Congress in 1986
nearly doubled the value of the personal tax exemption for children to $2,000
per child, and indexed its value to inflation.
Repeated studies have found that European child allowances—where the
state pays mothers a monthly stipend for each of their children—have no
significant positive effect on fertility.
However, there is strong evidence of a “robust” positive relationship
between the real, after inflation value of the tax exemption for children and
family size. Economist Leslie
Whittington has actually calculated an astonishing elasticity of birth
probability with respect to the exemption of between .839 and 1.31. This means that a one percent increase in
the exemption’s real value results in about a 1 percent increase in birth
probability in families.
Why this difference? It appears that allowing families to keep
more of what they earn while raising children—that is, turning children into
little tax shelters—has a positive, even life-affirming psychological effect on
parents that money coming from the government cannot replicate. In any case, the significant uptick in
overall American fertility coincides with the sharp increase in the exemption’s
value in 1986. More recently, the rise
in marital fertility, starting in 1996, correlates precisely with the
introduction of the new Child Tax Credit that year. It seems that pro-family tax cuts work!
Third, Americans stand almost alone
among modern nations as a people bound to active religious faith; and active
faith commonly translates into larger families. At the most dramatic level, some faith communities still on the
margins of American life—the Old Order Amish found in rural communities in 20
states, the Hutterites in Montana and North Dakota, and Hassidic Jews in New
York, Cleveland, and other cities—continue to report average completed family
size in excess of six children. Closer
to the mainstream, the fertility rate of the state of Utah is nearly twice the
national average, reflecting a TFR among Latter-day Saints or Mormons there of
about 4.0. Surveys also show that
“fundamentalist Protestants” and traditional “Latin Mass” Catholics who attend
religious services at least once a week also record higher total fertility.
Finally, Americans are generally held
less hostage to the deadly dogmas of pure “gender equality” than are the
“Swedenized” Europeans. As the
University of Virginia’s Stephen Rhodes’ new book, Taking Sex Differences Seriously,
reminds us, women and men are hardwired to be different. Denying these differences can only result in
inhuman, indeed violent acts, particularly against existing and
potential children. After decades of work by feminist ideologues
to re-engineer human nature, Americans remain resilient, open to the natural
power of gender complementarity. For
example, despite massive Federal financial preferences and incentives for
putting small children in day care, a full third of young American mothers
still find ways to remain home full-time with their pre-school children. And this proportion appears to be growing
again. The imperatives of biology, of
human nature, are still in play in our land.
The Swedish model, resting on state
child allowances, the near-mandatory employment of mothers, parents insurance,
day care, and gender equality in all aspects of human life, has failed. The current fixation of European scholars
and policymakers on this response to depopulation is both a delusion and a
death wish. If Europe’s political
leaders seriously want to renew their nations, they need look elsewhere: even,
perhaps, to “the American model” involving the empowerment of families through
home schooling, tax cuts sensitive to marriage and family size, religious
belief, and respect for the natural complementarity of man and woman, wife and
husband. The issue is, after all, a
matter of the life or death of nations.
 Jean-Claude Chesnois, “Fertility, Family,
and Social Policy in Contemporary Europe,” Population and Development Review 22
(Dec. 1996): 733.
 Peter McDonald, “Gender Equity in Theories
of Fertility Transition,” Population and Development Review 26
(September 2000): 438.
 J.M. Hoem, “Social Policy and Recent
Fertility Change in Sweden,” Population and Development Review 16
 Livia Sz. Olah, Gendering Family Dynamics: The
Case of Sweden and Hungary (Stockholm: Stockholm University Demographic
Unit—Dissertation Series, 2001); and Ann-Sofie Duvakler and Gunnar Andersson,
“Gender Equality and Fertility in Sweden: An Investigation of the Impact of the
Father’s Use of Parental Leave on Continued Childbearing,” (2003); cited in:
Gerda Neyer, “Family Policies and Low Fertility in Western Europe,” Max-Planck
Institute for Demographic Research Working Paper #2003-021 (July 2003).
 Paul Demeny, “Population Policy Dilemmas in
Europe at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century,” Population and Development Review
29 (March 2003): 22.
 See: Paul Demeny, “Population Policy
Dilemmas in Europe at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century,” Population
and Development Review 29 (March 2003): 1-3.
 See: Phillip Longman, The Empty Cradle: How Falling
Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What To Do About It (New York:
Basic Books, 2004): 52-54.
 Lena Sommestad, “Gender Equality—A Key to
Our Future?” Published by The Swedish Institute, 1 September 2001. Found at
 Sommestad, “Gender Equality,” p. 2.
 European Commission, “Modernizing and
Improving Social Protection in the European Union: Communication from the
Commission” (1997); and Herbert Krieger, “Family Life in Europe—Results of
Recent Surveys on Quality of Life in Europe,” Family Paper #8, The European
 See: Kristina Hultman, “Mothers, fathers
and gender equality in Sweden” published by The Swedish Institute (6 Mar 2004);
 Demeny, “Population Policy Dilemmas in
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 See: Britta Hoem and Jan M. Hoem, “Sweden’s
family policies and roller-coaster fertility,” Journal of Population Problems
52 (1996): 1-22.
 Dorothy McBride Stetson and Amy Maxur,
eds., Comparative State Feminism (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
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 Alva Myrdal, et al, Towards
Equality: The Alva Myrdal Report to the Swedish Social Democratic Party
(Stockholm: Prisma, 1972 : 17, 38, 64, 82-84.
 Sven Steinmo, “Social Democracy vs.
Socialism: Goal Adaptation in Social Democratic Sweden,” Politics & Society 16
(Dec. 1988): 430.
 Michael Bogdan and Eva Ryrstedt, “Marriage
in Swedish Family Law and Swedish Conflicts of Law,” Family Law Quarterly 29
(Fall 1995): 678-79.
 Wolfang Lutz, Brian C. O’Neill, Sergei
Sherbov, “Europe’s Population at a Turning Point,” Science 299 (28 March
 Christos Bagavos and Claude Martin, Low
Fertility, Families and Public Policies: Synthesis Report. Annual Seminar, Seville, Spain, 15-16
September 20000 (Vienna: Austrian Institute for Family Studies, 2001):
 John C. Caldwell and Thomas Schindlmeyer,
“Explanations of the Fertility Crisis in Modern Societies: A Search for
Commonalities,” Population Studies 57 (2003): 241-63.
 Demeny, “Population Policy Dilemmas in
Europe,” pp. 22-25.
 Ron J. Lesthawghe, The Decline of Belgian Fertility,
1800-1970 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977): 230.
 Ron J. Lesthaeghe, “A Century of
Demographic and Cultural Change in Western Europe,” Population and Development Review
9 (1983): 429.
 Caldwell and Schindlmagr, “Explanations of
the Fertility Crisis in Modern Societies,” p. 256.
 “Half a Billion Americans?” The
Economist (August 22, 2002).
 Norman Ryder, “Fertility and Family
Structure,” Population Bulletin of the United Nations 15 (1983):
 Avery M. Guest and Stewart E. Tolnags,
“Children’s Roles and Fertility: Late Nineteenth Century United States,” Social
Science History 7 (1983): 355-80.
 Lawrence M. Rudner, “Scholastic Achievement
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Policy Analysis Archives 7 (23 March 1999): 7-8, 12.
 Leslie Whittington, “Taxes and the Family:
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29 (May 1992): 220-21; and L.A. Whittington, J. Alan, and H.E. Peters,
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 See: F. Althous, “Differences in Fertility
of Catholics and Protestants Are Related to Timing and Prevalence of Marriage,”
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 Steven E. Rhoads, Taking Sex Differences Seriously
(San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004).