Friday, April 9, 2010

The childless 10%

When I randomly opened up Gilbert's Committed, the page I landed on talked about how in every society, statistically, 10% of women never have children.  This was somewhat flabergasting to me (and to Gilbert).  1 in 10 women?  Really? 

Sometimes, the percentage can get as high as 23%, but for some reason, it never falls below 10%, if I'm remembering what I glanced at.  I think Gilbert talks about evolution causing this consistent number or something (can't remember), but as a Christian, I was really intrigued.  Apparently, 10% is a good number, a minimum amount necessary for something.

Of course, not all of these women lack children because they are lifetime celibates.  Gilbert mentions infertility, war, and other reasons.  I wonder if that 10% takes into account how many people adopt and raise children not biologically theirs.  Probably not.  Maybe that's part of what that 10% is for. 

Anyway, what are your thoughts about/experiences with that statistic?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds vaguely familiar- did they compare the statistics to other mammals, by any chance? As I understand it, biologically speaking, you just don't need as many males as you do females to keep a species going. But some animals actually produce more male or female offspring depending on the environment and/or food quality.

    Also, was there anything about how many men don't have children? This is a really interesting question, but I feel like the issue is much more complex than it sounds at first.