As woke indoctrination floods America’s public schools, parents are in turn flooding school board meetings to demand a return to sanity. Organizing against Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ ideology, and forced masking in public schools, parents are rediscovering a simple fact to which a growing bureaucracy had once blinded them — parents are responsible for the raising of children, and family is the context in which that occurs.
It is for this reason that the progressive machine has mobilized against the nascent revival of the American family — harping about parents’ “authoritarianism” and even calling them “household tyrants.”
Despite the paradigm shift of the last few years, the American family presently finds itself in an abysmal state. The most essential institution in our society has crumbled as recent generations of Americans themselves neglected it — abdicating their responsibilities and leaving them to the government.
Here is a brief picture of the ground upon which America’s parents must now rebuild.
Population growth at its slowest in centuries
In 2021, the United States population increased at the slowest pace since the nation’s founding — a slim 0.1%.
Citing “decreasing fertility” and “increasing mortality due to an aging population,” the Census Bureau summarized:
The year 2021 is the first time since 1937 that the U.S. population grew by fewer than one million people, featuring the lowest numeric growth since at least 1900, when the Census Bureau began annual population estimates. Apart from the last few years, when population growth slowed to historically low levels, the slowest rate of growth in the 20th century was from 1918-1919 amid the influenza pandemic and World War I.
From 2020 to 2021, conservative states saw the greatest increases in growth due to relatively higher birth rates and new residents from other parts of the nation. Idaho, for instance, witnessed 2.9% growth, while Utah and Montana each saw expansions of 1.7%.
Meanwhile, blue states — due to low birthrates and fleeing residents — topped the list of areas experiencing declines. New York saw a 1.6% drop in population, while Illinois saw a 0.9% drop, while Hawaii and California each saw a 0.7% dip. The District of Columbia witnessed a more severe population decline than any other state — 2.9% in a single year.
Deaths exceed births in half of all states
Even controlling for the reality of migration within the country, there were more deaths than births in half of all states as of 2020.
The number of states experiencing the dismal trend increased tenfold in a single year, according to The Wall Street Journal:
In half of all states last year, more people died than were born, up from five states in 2019. Early estimates show the total U.S. population grew 0.35% for the year ended July 1, 2020, the lowest ever documented, and growth is expected to remain near flat this year.
Some demographers cite an outside chance the population could shrink for the first time on record. Population growth is an important influence on the size of the labor market and a country’s fiscal and economic strength.
CDC data reveals that the birth-to-death ratio reached a peak in modern history in the year 1954, when each death was accompanied by 2.75 births. In 2020, however, there were only 1.07 births for each death. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts — all northeastern states with highly progressive cultures — constituted most of the states where deaths surpassed births in both 2019 and 2020.
Many — including Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk — observe that low birth rates are one of the greatest risks to Western society.
“So many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control,” Musk recently explained. “It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers — if people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words.”
Less than one in five American households are families with married parents
The decline of American marriage is a significant factor behind the decline of American civilization. Currently, only 17.8% of American households feature married parents — a steep drop from 40% in 1970.
According to the Census Bureau, the trend is attributable to low birth rates and the tendency of American couples to get married later into adulthood. The average age of a woman at her first marriage is now nearly 29 years; in the 1950s and 1960s, it was just over 20 years old. The average age of a man at his first marriage now sits just over 30 years old.
Americans are therefore living alone at much greater rates. While 87% of American adults lived with a spouse as of 1960, only 50% of American adults live with a spouse today.
Young men are more disenfranchised than ever
One of the most worrying — and perhaps the most overlooked — factors behind the dismal state of the American family is the dismal state of American men.
15% of 25-year-old to 34-year-old men without a bachelor’s degree lived with their parents as recently as the 1990s. According to the Conference Board, that figure has risen to 25%. For young men with college degrees, living-at-home rates increased from 10% to 13%. At the same time, men are opting out of the labor force at alarming levels. Through roughly the same period, labor force participation rates — the percentage of people who either have a job or are actively looking for one — have dropped from 93% to 87% among young men.
In an interview last year with The Daily Wire, Michael Foster — pastor of East River Church in Batavia, Ohio, and author of “It’s Good to Be a Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity” — explained that men must be encouraged in their masculinity.
“It’s difficult to give disheartened and disillusioned men the desire to overcome the challenges of our time. I don’t think most parents know what to do,” Foster said. “Many of them understand the economic difficulties and so they allow their sons to stay at home. This, in turn, feeds a vicious cycle. After all, it’s pretty emasculating for a grown man to depend on his parents for basic needs.”
“The success of one sex doesn’t undermine the success of the other. God made two sexes and called them both good. A world where masculine men flourish is a world where feminine women will flourish. We need to scream from the rooftops that, yes, it’s good to be a woman, but it’s also good to be a man. That’s step number one.”
As goes the family, so goes the nation. As goes the father, so goes the family.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.