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Natalism (also called pronatalism or the pro-birth position) is a belief that promotes reproduction of sentient life.[1][need quotation to verify] The term is taken from the Latin adjective form for "birth", natalis. Natalism promotes child-bearing and parenthood as desirable for social reasons and to ensure the continuance of humanity. Natalism in public policy typically seeks to create financial and social incentives for populations to reproduce, such as providing tax incentives that reward having and supporting children. Adherents of more stringent takes on natalism may seek to limit access to abortion and contraception, as well. The opposite of natalism is antinatalism.



Many religions (including some parts of Judaism[2] and some branches of Christianity, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[3] and the Catholic Church[4][5][6]) encourage procreation.

The Amish are among the fastest-growing populations in the world, with an average of 6.8 children per family.[7]

A recent movement among conservative Protestants, known as the Quiverfull movement, advocates for large families. Some scholars[which?] note that Quiverfull resembles other world-denying fundamentalist movements which grow through internal reproduction and membership retention, such as Haredi Judaism, the Amish, Laestadianism in Finland and Sweden and the Salafi movement in the Muslim world. Many such groups grow relative to other categories, as seculars and moderates may have by contrast transitioned as far as below-replacement fertility, in certain groups.[8][9][10]

Intention to have children[edit]

An intention to have children is a substantial fertility factor in actually ending up doing so, but childless individuals who intend to have children immediately or within 2 or 3 years are generally more likely to succeed than those who intend to have children in the long-term.[11] There are many determinants of the intention to have children, including:

  • The mother's preference of family size, which influences that of the children through early adulthood.[12] Likewise, the extended family influences fertility intentions, with increased number of nephews and nieces increasing the preferred number of children.[11]
  • Social pressure from kin and friends to have another child.[11]
  • Social support. However, a study from West Germany came to the result that both men receiving no support at all and receiving support from many different people have a lower probability of intending to have another child, with the latter probably related to coordination problems.[11]
  • Happiness, with happier people tending to want more children.[11]
  • Secure housing situation.[13]

Natalistic politics[edit]

Some countries with population decline offer incentives to the people to have large families as a means of national efforts to reverse declining populations. Incentives may include a one time baby bonus, or ongoing child benefit payments or tax reductions. Some impose penalties or taxes on those with fewer children. Some nations, such as Japan, Singapore,[14] South Korea,[15] and Taiwan, have implemented, or tried to implement, interventionist natalist policies, creating incentives for larger families among native stock. Immigrants are generally not part of natalist policies.

Paid maternity and paternity leave policies can also be used as an incentive. For example, Sweden has generous parental leave wherein parents are entitled to share 16 months paid leave per child, the cost divided between both employer and State.

Books advocating natalist policies include What to Expect When No One's Expecting by Jonathan V. Last.[16]


Antinatalism, or anti-natalism, is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth. Antinatalists argue that people should refrain from procreation because it is ethically bad (some also recognize procreation of other sentient beings as ethically bad).[citation needed] In scholarly and in literary writings, various ethical foundations have been adduced for antinatalism.[17] Some of the earliest surviving formulations of the idea that it would be better not to have been born come from ancient Greece.[18] The term "antinatalism" was used probably for the first time as the name of the position by Théophile de Giraud (born 1968) in his book L'art de guillotiner les procréateurs: Manifeste anti-nataliste.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McKeown, John (2014). God's Babies: Natalism and Bible Interpretation in Modern America. Cambridge: Open Books. pp. 2–4.
  2. ^ Twerski, Rebbetzin Feige. "Joys of A Large Family". Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  3. ^ First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles (September 23, 1995), "Gospel Topics – The Family: A Proclamation to the World",, LDS Church, retrieved 2013-12-11. See also: The Family: A Proclamation to the World
  4. ^ Pope Paul VI (1968-07-25). "Humanae Vitae: Encyclical on the Regulation of Birth". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  5. ^ Pope Pius XI (1930-12-31). "Casti Connubii: Encyclical on Christian Marriage". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  6. ^ Pope John Paul II (1981-11-22). "Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio: On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  7. ^ Ericksen, Julia A; Ericksen, Eugene P; Hostetler, John A; Huntington, Gertrude E (July 1979). "Fertility Patterns and Trends among the Old Order Amish". Population Studies. 33: 255–76. doi:10.2307/2173531. ISSN 0032-4728. OCLC 39648293.
  8. ^ Kaufmann, Eric. 2011. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. London: Profile Books.
  9. ^ Sneps.
  10. ^ Toft, Monica Duffy (2011), "Wombfare: The Religious and Political Dimensions of Fertility and Demographic Change", in Goldstone, JA; Kaufmann, E; Toft, M, Political Demography: identity, conflict and institutions, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press.
  11. ^ a b c d e Nicoletta Balbo; Francesco C. Billari; Melinda Mills (2013). "Fertility in Advanced Societies: A Review of Research". European Journal of Population. 29 (1).
  12. ^ Axinn, William G.; Clarkberg, Marin E.; Thornton, Arland (1994). "Family Influences on Family Size Preferences". Demography. 31 (1): 65. doi:10.2307/2061908. ISSN 0070-3370.
  13. ^ Vignoli, Daniele and Rinesi, Francesca and Mussino, Eleonora (2013). "A home to plan the first child? Fertility intentions and housing conditions in Italy". Population, Space and Place.
  14. ^ "Pro-natalism: Breaking the baby strike". The Economist. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  15. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (21 August 2005). "South Korea, in Turnabout, Now Calls for More Babies". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  16. ^ Cohen, Joel E. (April 24, 2014). "The Case for More Babies". The New York Review of Books.
  17. ^ K. Akerma, Antinatalismus – Ein Handbuch, epubli, 2017.
  18. ^ W. Tatarkiewicz, O szczęściu (On Happiness), Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1979, pp. 420-421.
  19. ^ K. Akerma, Antinatalismus – Ein Handbuch, epubli, 2017, p. 301.