Americans keeping having babies. Will Wilkinson does an excellent survey of why American women just can't stop popping 'em out. It's not because we think Jesus wants us to, he says. After all, Italy has almost as much chuch-goin' and not nearly as many offspring:
I like the optimism explanation. It's easy to see why folks would refrain from reproduction if they thought their kids had only a broiling, denuded planet full of wretched consumer-zombies living pointless lives in cookie-cutter McMansions and soulless big box strip malls to look forward to. The data are convincing. This Harris Poll lays it out:
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of adults in the United States say they expect their lives will improve in the next five years [Best in the world!] . . . At the other end of the spectrum, only 23 percent of Germans, 35 percent of Austrians, 36 percent of Belgians, and 37 percent of the Dutch expect their personal situations will improve.
Read Wilkinson writing in Reason on happiness here.