Does This Mean The World Is Ending?

Quake in your boots, ladies and gentlemen, for the end of days is surely upon us! The latest sign of the apocalypse? Women are increasingly choosing to own dogs instead of having babies. And yes, the choice is an either/or. Because no one has ever both owned a dog and had a baby. My parents certainly did not raise me alongside the world's sweetest German Shepherd, no siree.

A new piece by Quartz reveals that not only has birth rate among American women aged 15-29 fallen by ten percent since 2007, but that over the same period the number of small dogs (i.e. dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds) owned as pets has positively skyrocketed, and that women are driving this trend. Coincidence? Well, actually even they admit it might be, but it's so much more fun to say "I Think Not!"

In all seriousness, though, I have to wonder what the big deal here is. Women are having children later in life. In the meantime some of them want dogs because dogs are awesome. And small dogs are less work for busy, career women than big dogs. They don't need as much exercise or as much space, and they theoretically inflict less damage during the teething stage. Though I once had a thoroughly dim-witted beagle that could probably disprove that point all on his own. I still have furniture with his teeth marks ten years later.

But the point is that this is not all that surprising or noteworthy, and the fact that such a big deal is being made about it sounds a lot like the usual freak out that society is going to unravel now that women aren't making the much more natural decision to be barefoot and pregnant by the age of 25. I guess it comes from the concern that these women might not just delay children but forego them all together, but I am constantly perplexed how anyone who has ever looked at stats on overpopulation is in any way alarmed by this idea.

Plus, the population of the U.S. is not going to decline any time soon. Even if our birth rate ever dipped below the death rate, there are these things called immigrants, who sometimes spend years on waiting lists trying to come to this country. I promise that we are not going to face economic collapse due to lack of people anytime soon.

In the meantime, if the prospect of women delaying children is still in some way upsetting or alarming to you, I suggest you buy a dog. I hear they're awesome.

Image: Wikipedia Commons