Why Things Went Wrong: The Decline of the Natural Family

by Allan Carlson, Ph.D.

For the workshop, "Faith and Challenges to the Family" Organized for the Bishops of North and Central America and the Caribbean   by the Pope John Center    January 31-February 4, 1994   Dallas, Texas

The "decline of the family"--a phrase dismissed not so long ago as a canard of the political right or as a uniquely "black problem"--now has the statistical validation which passes as the modern version of revealed truth. The bipartisan National Commission on Children concluded in its 1991 FINAL REPORT that the declining well-being of children in the United States could be traced to adult irresponsibility toward marriage vows and parenthood. More recently, Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe has shown that the family in America is in serious decline in three areas:

  • As a demographic reality, with family households decreasing in size and as a percentage of all households and surviving as groups for shorter times and for a shorter portion of the average lifespan;

  • As an institutional presence, with the average family unit turning its last few functions (such as food preparation and early child care) over to corporate or state interests;

  • And as a cultural force, with the claims of family life holding diminishing value relative to the claims of "the self" and of "the greater welfare."'[1]

A comparative look at family decline in the United States, Canada, and Mexico shows both common themes and revealing differences. Any effort to understand "family decline," though, must logically begin with a definition of "family." The one suggested by both the anthropological record and the natural order becomes: a family is a man and a woman bonded together through a covenant of marriage to bear and rear children, to regulate sexuality, to provide mutual care, to create a small home economy of shared production and consumption, and to maintain continuity across the generations.

Particularly in the United States, popular perceptions of family strength and decline have been strongly influenced by the peculiar social record of the 1950's, the "Baby Boom" era. As we start, it becomes important to separate this mid-20th century anomaly from long term trends.

The latter reveal that the family finds a natural home in a culturally agrarian society, organized on a householding economy embracing subsistence agricultural and small-scale production. In this environment, production in the household binds each family together as a "community of work. ,[2] Gender roles are not in dispute, for wives stand alongside husbands as coworkers in the family enterprise. Children are welcomed into the family circle as potential coworkers, as heirs to the family enterprise, and as a source of security in illness and old age.

As late as the 1840's (and in some regions much later), the United States claimed such a social-economic structure defined by: the primacy of the household economy ;[3] the sustained influence of kinship ties and ethnic and religious communities over economic life ;[4] the "child-centered use of land" to perpetuate families on the Soil;[5] the continuing power of intergenerational bonds, where "[t]he line was more important than the individual [and] the patrimony was to be conserved for lineal reasons; ,[6] and an abundance of children, with the average U.S. women bearing seven live children, and with half of the U.S. population age 15 or younger.

This agrarian, householding social order also predominated in Canada until the late 19th Century, with particular strength in Quebec.

But modern industrialization and the rise of the modern state worked jointly to undermine this family-centered social order, beginning in the United States. The rise of the factory, the office, and the impersonal employer severed the place of work from the home, with vast consequences. Relatively to the sweep of human social history, philosopher Karl Polanyi labeled this one change "the Great Transformation. ,[7] In historian John Demos' words, "Family life was wrenched apart from the world of work--a veritable sea change in social history." [8]Concerning gender roles, this shift leveled the reciprocal, complementary tasks of husbands and wives in household production, and threw men and women into competition with each other in the sale of their labor. Older children, as well, could forego obedience to family and sell their labor to third parties. In short, the autonomous, cooperative family changed into a collection of competitive individuals. Infants, small children, and the infirm had no immediate prospects for individual gain; the spreading industrial system left their fate uncertain.

Judged even in secular terms, Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical RERUM NOVARUM [ON THE CONDITION OF WORKERS] was among the most insightful early diagnoses of this change, and the most creative blueprint for response. The encyclical rejected the wage theories of both classical liberalism and socialism, arguing instead for a third way, resting on "the natural and primeval right of marriage" and "the society of the household." Appealing to the natural law, the document concluded that the principle behind all valid employer-worker contracts was a wage payment "sufficiently large to enable [the father] to provide comfortably for himself, his wife, and his children." [9] Virtually alone among social observers of that era, Leo understood that a firm boundary must be built between the authentic "socialist" economy of families rooted in altruism, and the inevitable competitive world of corporations and states, and that defining and defending that boundary from intrusion either way was a critical moral, intellectual, and social task.

RERUM NOVARUM termed the payment of a living family wage to male heads of-households a personal moral obligation, which Christian employers should fulfill. Writing for an American audience fifteen years later, Father John Ryan shifted toward state coercion as the means to this goal. As he explained in his book, A LIVING WAGE: "The laborer has a right to a family Living Wage ... because [it is] an essential condition of normal life." Since Nature and Reason had decreed that the family should be supported by its head, "the State has both the right and the duty to compel all employers to pay a Living Wage."[10] This implicit cession of both individual and institutional Christian responsibility to the state marked a striking departure from the older Catholic tradition that emphasized the twin powers of Church and state, each bearing its own particular duties.[11]

State authority, moreover, was a two-edged sword. Summoned to save the family, it stood also as a threat to family authority and to the family economy, with a practical interest in family decline. In the United States, the expansion of the state into hitherto private family matters also began near 1840, with Catholic families as a distinctive common target.

The "child saving" or "reform school" movement, as example, took root in New England at this time. Behind its official purposes of "preventing vice and immorality" and "saving neglected and abused children" lay another agenda: an effort by the Unitarian Yankee elite to break the hold of newly arrived Irish Catholic parents over their children, by restricting the moral and educational claims of families. So-called "child protection" laws gave birth, in turn, to the legal concept of parens patriae, or "the parenthood of the state," through which poor, immigrant children were commonly taken from their parents without just cause for incarceration in reform schools. [12] The "common" or "public school" movement, as it took shape in Massachusetts under the tutelage of Horace Mann, also sought implicitly to release newly arrived Irish Catholic children from the moral influence of "parents and priests. ,[13]

After 1900, the modern welfare state grew only as it effectively displaced the family in fulfilling the dependency functions: namely, the care of the young, the old, the sick, and the infirm. While the social dislocations caused by industrialization were used, in the beginning, to justify the institutions of social security as a "support" to families, the process soon gained its own, perverse momentum. Indeed, the welfare state as an institution clearly held an interest in family turmoil: the more that families failed, the greater the demand for state services. As Popenoe has concluded, the very existence of the welfare state has compromised and weakened the institution of the family and has seriously damaged religiously-[14]grounded voluntarism and charity as well.

This joint and mutually reinforcing advance of corporate industrialism and state authority came at the expense of families, and the signs of stress were soon evident. The birth rate tumbled by two-thirds. This was a time, I might add, well before the introduction of modern contraceptive methods or widespread birth control propaganda. Nonetheless, U.S. citizens still found ways to avoid bearing children, and to reduce average family size from seven to near two children. During the same period, the U.S. divorce rate began a measurable advance, while the propensity to marry declined. In short, family decline in the U.S. actually began near 1840, and continued at an uninterrupted pace for a century.

The same developments occurred in Canada, albeit with a time lag of about forty years. As late as the 1880's, Canadian fertility was at a high, pre-Transformation level, and population growth rapid. But a process of family deterioration had set in by 1900, as the same forces affecting the U.S.--large-scale industrialization and state centralization--moved north.

In Mexico, a strikingly different pattern could be found: from independence in the early 19th century through the revolution of 1910-17 up to 1940, this nation was locked in a pattern of high fertility tied to a high mortality rate, a situation linked in turn to economic stagnation. Yet during the 1940-65 period, something quite extraordinary occurred: economic output in Mexico grew by 7.4 percent annually from the mid-1940's to the mid-1950's, and by 4.3 percent annually from the mid-1950's to the mid-1960's, figures exceeding the growth rates of both the U.S. and Canada. More remarkably, this sustained economic expansion was linked not only to a decline in mortality but also to an increase in fertility, with the average number of children born per woman increasing 15 percent, to 6.7.

This decidedly different course of development rested on a far more family-supportive set of institutional developments and policy choices. First, agrarian reform after 1940 distributed nearly 10 million hectares of land to Mexican peasants. While stimulating spectacular gains in productivity and production, the program also resulted in the resettlement of the majority of the rural population on subsistence farms, where the family was the unit of both production and consumption, and where the natural family economy thrived. Extended rural families also served as the base from which individuals were sent out in search of temporary employment in urban centers or in the United States (through the bracero program), meaning that economic mobility could be better achieved through larger families.' [15]

Second, even in the cities, economic growth occurred in a context of positive family integration. As two development economists have explained this phenomena: "foremost was the continuing importance of the family as a unit of production and consumption. The family served as a base from which to pool the fortunes of several potential earners seeking temporary, low-wage jobs. ,[16] At the same time, much of the new urban economic activity occurred in small firms that were family-owned or -operated. Job allocation at large firms also gave preference to family ties.

Third, Mexican public policy was unusually supportive. The General Law of Population, adopted in 1947, contained measures to promote marriage and fertility. This pronatalism drew further reinforcement from health regulations prohibiting the sale and use of contraceptives and a criminal code banning abortion.

Under this family-centered economic and political regime, the Mexican population climbed from 19.7 million in 1940 to 48.3 million in 1970, a 150 percent increase in the context of: a growing agrarian sector; an expanding, family-oriented urban-industrial complex; a rising per-capita income; a family-centered system of dependency and security; a stable currency; high tariffs; and low levels of public debt and foreign borrowing. In many respects, Mexico in this quarter century had found a reasonably successful "third way" of economic organization, avoiding the anti-family extremes of both statist socialism and centralized capitalism.

In the United States, meanwhile, the century-old unraveling of family life also came to a temporary end, with a startling shift in all the indicators during the 1940-60 period:

  • the marriage rate climbed by 40 percent between 1940 and 1946, and remained high another half-dozen years;

  • the divorce rate fell by over 50 percent between 1946 and 1960; the birth rate surged 60 percent, while the average completed family size rose from 2.3 children in 1940 to nearly 4 children in 1957.

What caused this dramatic break in U.S. social history, where the negative family trends of a century's duration reversed and the unique "Fifties family" emerged in their stead?

The first factor I would cite was the militarization of society. It was the permanent military mobilization of the Cold War, not World War II, that helped change America. Instead of demobilization after victory in 1945, as had happened after all other U.S. wars, the U.S. sustained a large peacetime standing military force throughout the 1950's and early '60's, an unprecedented development. For a majority of American males, military service became a common experience, and the conformity and obedience learned there seems to have passed over into conformity in the civilian domain, as so-called "organization men" settled into family life; [17]

Another factor was the renewal of "familistic" religion. The "fertility rise" in the late 1940's was largely the consequence of new marriages and a "catching up" on babies deferred by the war. But something else occurred in the period after 1950: a deliberate return of large families of four or more children. This was particularly true among American Catholics. In 1953, only 10 percent of Catholic adults under age 40 reported having 4 or more children, virtually identical to the 9 percent for U.S. Protestants. By 1958, the Protestant figure was still 9 percent, but the Catholic figure had more than doubled, to 22 percent. More amazingly, these new large families defied a reputed law of sociology: they were concentrated among the better educated, with the greatest increase among Catholic women with college degrees. The fertility increase among Catholics also was positively associated with weekly attendance at Mass. In short, it could be fair to label this real U.S. "Baby Boom" a "Catholic phenomenon. ,[18]

Also sustaining the "Fifties family" was a strengthened "family wage" culture. Since the 1840's, as noted before, the labor unions, progressive reformers, and Catholic theorists had sought to construct a "family wage" economy, delivering a wage to male heads-of-households that would, by itself, sustain a family. Their proudest achievement was the liberation of married women from toil in the factories, so that they might care for the home and children and so prevent the full industrialization of human life. To be sure, such a system did rest on intentional job and wage discrimination against women: the accepted argument was that women workers deserved only an "individual" wage, since they usually had no dependents or worked only to supplement a husband's wage.

However, U.S. wartime regulations in 1942 ended direct wage discrimination against women: equal pay for equal work was basically achieved by 1945. But for another 25 years, "job segregation by gender" more than compensated for this. Women workers crowded into "women's jobs" that invariably paid less than "men's jobs," and the so-called "wage gap" between men and women actually grew. [19] As Nobel-prize winning economist Gary Becker has shown, this sort of change should be associated with more marriages and more births, which is just what occurred.

Tax reforms in 1944 and 1948 also created a strongly pro-family U.S. tax code. While marginal tax rates were high, the personal exemption was set at $600 per person, roughly 18% of median household income. In effect, the progressivity of the Federal income tax was being offset by family size. Congress also introduced "income splitting" in 1948, giving a strong incentive to marriage and placing a real financial penalty on divorce. [20]

Meanwhile, housing subsidies for families grew dramatically. Tax benefits included the exemption of both imputed rent and mortgage interest from income taxation. Subsidized VA and FHA loans were restricted by custom and regulation almost exclusively to married-couple families.

INTELLECTUALS lent their support to the "Fifties family," as well. Harvard University's Talcott Parsons, the era's most influential sociologist, celebrated the "upgraded" family system of the 1950's, which he called the "compassionate family," focused on the "personality adjustment" of adults in the suburbs. [21] In the field of psychology, John Bowlby set the tone by stressing the importance of a full-time mother for children, particularly [22]infants. And the discipline of Home Economics reached the peak of its influence, in the effort to give content to the title, "household engineer." [23] Finally, this family system generally enjoyed popular reinforcement, in film and television, and in mass magazines such as LIFE, THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, and LADIES HOME JOURNAL.

In Canada, related external developments--supplemented by the creation of a universal child allowance--did not produce exactly similar results. For example, the fall in the overall Canadian birthrate did not reverse in the 1950's: it simply held steady for about ten years, before continuing its downward course. Meanwhile, the fertility of Catholics in Quebec actually fell. By 1962, Quebec's average completed family size was 3.6 children, lower [24]than that of all Canada (3.8) or even of Anglo-Protestant Ontario (3.7). These developments in Canada point to the peculiarity of the U.S. "Baby Boom" experience, and its linkage to special circumstances not capable of reproduction in other times and places.

Indeed, the critical point here is that the reorganized U.S. family of the 1950's--whether in the sociologists' image of "an organization man" married to "a household engineer" in a "compassionate marriage" focused on "personality adjustment" in the suburbs or in the alternate image of the modern large Catholic family--was a special, and partially successful effort to restore family living in a modern, industrial environment. But it was also fragile and time-dependent, resting on an unusual ideological mix that cannot be recreated. Indeed, virtually all of the forces behind the restored U.S. family collapsed in the 1960's, and what we now call the "traditional family" dissolved, like a sand castle caught in a rising tide.

Statistics from the Sixties and early Seventies tell the tale:

  • The marriage rate for women, ages 20-24, fell a stunning 55 percent; the divorce rate soared by 125 percent;

  • meanwhile, the U.S. birth rate tumbled 46 percent; even among those births which still occurred, a steadily rising proportion were "out-of-wedlock": by 1993, over 30 percent.

What lay behind this rapid collapse of the "traditional family" of the 1950's? (or, viewed another way, this return with a vengeance of the long term trends?):

To begin with, the conformist America, rooted in a patriotic militarization of society, was a casualty on the rice paddies of Vietnam.

More importantly, Christianity failed in its family-sustaining tasks. Not only did sermons on "chastity" and "fidelity" disappear from Protestant pulpits. But "Mainline" Protestant leadership also went on the attack, with a National Council of Churches panel in 1961 labeling marriage an "idolatry" and embracing the "sexual modernist" agenda of opposition to population growth, readily available abortion, and the promotion of contraception. [25] The Roman Catholic laity, meanwhile, grew disoriented after Vatican II, opening fissures on family and sexual issues that have still to be closed. Given the widely publicized divisions among theologians over sexual issues, it appears that the laity simply followed the easiest of several disputed paths of obedience. [26] In their detailed study of Catholic reproductive behavior in the state of Rhode Island, demographers Leon Bouvier and S.L.N. Rao have traced the collapse of the unique "Catholic Fertility" to the years between 1967 and 1973. Average expected family size among Catholics fell from 3.3 to 2.8 children in that short period. Among Catholic women with some college education, the decline was even more dramatic: from 3.7 to 2.7 children. Moreover, frequency of attendance at Mass no longer proved to be related to fertility. Even the large family ideal vanished. In 1967, 28 percent of "devout" Rhode Island Catholics planned to have five or more children; by [27]1971, less than 7 percent did.

For a time, American Mormons--or Latter-Day-Saints--seemed to be an exception here. While fertility tumbled elsewhere in the U.S. during the "baby bust" of 1965-80, the birth rate actually rose in Mormon-dominated Utah, along with average completed family size. Doctrinal constancy relative to [28]procreation and the desirability of large families appears to have been the cause of this divergence from the U.S. norm. However, after 1980, Mormon fertility began to fall, a shift apparently linked to the flow of wives and mothers into the paid labor force. Large families could no longer be sustained on one income, while the two-career family could scarcely accommodate a large number of children. [29]

Public policy changes further eroded the 'Fifties family.' The addition, as an afterthought, of the word "sex" to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, became by 1970 the chief tool in eliminating job [30]segregation by gender, so ending the nation's informal "family wage" system. Viewed philosophically, this development marked the nearly complete victory of liberal feminists, who emphasized the radical equality of men and women, over the social feminists, who emphasized women's distinctions and unique gifts.

From the Tax Reform Act of 1963 through the Tax Reform Act of 1986, Congress and the Presidency dismantled the pro-family/pro-marriage tax code created in the late 1940's, sharply increasing the relative tax burden of married-couple families with children. Government welfare programs, in effect, also transferred income from families based on marriage to families created through "out-of-wedlock births." Meanwhile, regulatory changes stripped federal housing subsidies of their pro-marriage/pro-family biases, in favor of "non discrimination." By the early 1980's, there was even evidence suggesting that Federal housing subsidies now encouraged divorce and discouraged children. [30]

A legal revolution also commenced in the U.S. Courts, where the "rights" of individuals triumphed almost completely over duties toward family and community, a change summarized by labels such as "no fault divorce," "children's rights," and "abortion on demand."

During the 1960's, the leading intellectuals turned on the suburban "compassionate" family, labeling it "narrow," "distorted," even "fascist." As fear of global overpopulation increased, U.S. political leaders mobilized support for restrictions on fertility. The 1972 Presidential Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, in effect, declared war on the U.S. "three child family," with a tacit anti-Catholic undertone.[31]

Finally, television began to explore new avenues of comedy, starting with the widowed father of "My Three Sons," quickly reaching complex cohabitation in "Three's Company," moving to "Murphy Brown", and then well beyond. It is now conventional for the U.S. networks to depict girls in their early teens with the sort of carnal knowledge once confined to prostitutes.

Similar developments affected Canada, this time with the same results: mounting family instability; fewer marriages and more divorces; dramatically fewer children; and rising levels of social disorder.[32] Signs of decline were particularly sharp in Quebec, where, according to one study, "the influence of the Catholic church declined drastically and strict adherence to Catholic prescriptions was no longer the norm." At the same time, the structure of French Canadian education shifted from "a traditionally classical one" to "a professionally oriented one," a change directly linked to family decline.[33] 

In Mexico, meanwhile, the political class brought an arbitrary end to that nation's unique family-centered economic order, leaving unresolved the question of whether it could have continued. Starting in the late 1960's, the government sharply cut back land distribution to family farmers, and restructured land sales, subsidies, and regulations in favor of industrialized farms. Under pressure from the World Bank and other external authorities, the Mexican government rejiggled incentives elsewhere in favor of large, multinational corporations. As a result, "small, family-based enterprises lost ground to the extending reach of large modern businesses."[34] Again under internationalist pressures, a Constitutional amendment and revisions of Mexico's Law of Population took effect in 1973. They aimed at limiting population growth through state birth control propaganda and expanded contraceptive usage. The construction of thousands of state health clinics proved to be the Mexican government's principle weapon in this quasi-war against rural fertility. Sterilization emerged by 1982 as the leading form of Mexican contraception, with 70 percent of sterilizations being performed in state clinics or hospitals. At the same time, authorities extended government old-age pensions to rural communities, consciously aware that this action would "encourage fragmentation of the extended family.[35]

The results of these changes were dramatic. The nation's crude birth rate tumbled 38 percent between 1970 and 1988. The proportion of married Mexican women using contraception climbed from 29 percent in 1976 to 48 percent a mere six years later. Evidence also showed that the introduction of state old-age pensions in rural Mexico had "a significant negative effect on fertility. ,[36] Massive permanent emigration to the United States began in the late 1960's, further disrupting extended family bonds. In the end, Mexico followed the lead of the United States and Canada in favoring the expansion of the international corporate sector and the state, at the expense of a family based economy, community, and nation. In a sense, the recent ratification of the NAFTA Treaty sealed this common rejection of a family-centered "third way" on the North American continent.

What, then, are the common lessons from these tales?

The first is that the family unit can never be "at home" in an individualist, industrialized society. Tension between the "corporate state" and the "family state" will always exist. As G.K. Chesterton put the matter, earlier in this century: "From its first days in the forest, [the family] had to fight against wild monsters; and so it is now fighting against these wild machines. It only managed to survive then, and it will only manage to survive now, by a strong internal sanctity."[37]

The second lesson is that governmental policy, particularly through differential taxation, can have a positive influence on family living. More common, though, are efforts by the "abstract" state to suppress its principal rival, the family, and the negative consequences--unintended or not--of state intervention to "save the family."

The third lesson is that religious and cultural structures are the most effective tools in crafting "shelter" for family living in a competitive, industrial sea. In its adoration of a 'Holy Family' of child, mother, and father, Christianity offers a unique power and meaning to the human family of father, mother, and child. Religious devotion, however, cannot serve as a substitute economy. The family's survival depends as well on a rightly ordered economic sphere, a "third way" where the autonomous family unit is protected from the misapplication of both market-driven individualism and coercive statist collectivism.

The fourth lesson is that a "third way" in a modern, progressive environment is possible. The Mexican record between 1940 and 1965 suggests that a family-centered system resting on agrarianism, small-scale enterprise, private forms of security, and an openness to children, can be successfully reconciled with a market system based on free exchange and real per-capita economic growth. On a much more limited scale, the successful expansion of the Amish community in the United States (from 5000 members in 1900 to 150,000 members in 1990) and of Hutterite communities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico offers a similar lesson: we are not the captives of blind economic forces; we do have real alternatives to the centralized "corporate state" that are compatible with liberty and family life.

In this disordered time, it falls to the larger religious bodies to take up the task of rebuilding family-centered communities, where the natural human economy can operate again. Means include: parish-level support for family scale enterprises; the creation of Christian communities linking faith, work, and residence; new emphasis on defending and expanding Christian rural life; and a recommitment by councils of Christian employers to their personal moral obligation to pay a living family wage.

Relative to individuals, lay men and women are both called home to rebuild families with an inner sanctity, to relearn the authentic meanings of the ancient words husbandry and housewifery, and to exercise the natural family functions of education, the care of the weak, charity, and a common economic life.


1. BEYOND RHETORIC: A NEW AMERICAN AGENDA FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. THE FINAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON CHILDREN (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991); and David Popenoe, "American Family Decline, 1960-1990: A Review and Appraisal," JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY 55 (August 1993): 527-55.

2. John Demos, PAST, PRESENT, AND PERSONAL: THE FAMILY AND THE LIFE COURSE IN AMERICAN HISTORY (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 28.

3. See James A. Henretta, "Families and Farms: Mentalite in Pre-Industrial America," WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY 35 (Jan. 1978): 9-30.

4. As example, see: Daniel Snydacker, "Kinship and Community in Rural Pennsylvania," JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY 13 (Summer 1982): 41-61.

5. Philip J. Greven, Jr., FOUR GENERATIONS: POPULATION, LAND, AND FAMILY IN COLONIAL ANDOVER, MASSACHUSETTS (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1970), p. 251; and Barry Levy, "'Tender Plants': Quaker Farmers and Children in the Delaware Valley, 1681-1735," JOURNAL OF FAMILY HISTORY 3 (Summer 1978): 11629.

6. Henretta, "Families and Farms," pp. 26, 30.

7. Karl Polanyi, THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION (Boston: Beacon Press, 1944).


9. Pope Leo XIII, RERUM NOVARUM; in TWO BASIC SOCIAL ENCYCLICALS (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1943), pp. 15, 55-59.


11. See: Thomas Molnar, TWIN POWERS: POLITICS AND THE SACRED, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman's, 1988).

12. Anthony Platt, THE CHILD SAVERS: THE INVENTION OF DELINQUENCY (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), pp. 45-74.

13. As Princeton University demographer Norman Ryder has described the process, in more universal terms: Mass state education has served as modern society's agent in freeing individuals from obligations to family and faith. "Education of the junior generation is a subversive influence .... Political organizations, like economic organizations, demand loyalty and attempt to neutralize family particularism. There is a struggle between the family and the State for the minds of the young," where the state school serves as "the chief instrument for teaching citizenship, in a direct appeal to the children over the heads of their parents." [Norman Ryder, "Fertility and Family Structure," POPULATION BULLETIN OF THE UNITED NATIONS 15 (1983): 20-32.]

14. David Popenoe, DISTURBING THE NEST: FAMILY CHANGE AND DECLINE IN MODERN SOCIETIES (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1988), pp. 205-06, 221, 238-41.

15. Francisco Alba and Joseph E. Potter, "Population and Development in Mexico Since 1940: An Interpretation," POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 12 (March 1986): 49-51, 56.

16. Alba and Potter, "Population and Development in Mexico since 1940,19 p. 57.

17. See: Walt W. Rostow, "The National Style," in THE AMERICAN STYLE: ESSAYS IN VALUE AND PERFORMANCE, ed. Elting E. Morrison (New York: Harper Collins, 1958), pp. 246-313.

18. William D. Mosher, David P. Johnson, and Marjorie C. Horn, "Religion and Fertility in the United States: The Importance of Marriage Patterns and Hispanic Origin," DEMOGRAPHY 23 (Aug. 1986): 367-69; Judith Blake, "Catholicism and Fertility: On Attitudes of Young Americans," POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 10 (June 1984): 39-40; Gerhard Lenski, THE RELIGIOUS FACTOR: A SOCIOLOGIST'S INQUIRY (New York: Doubleday, 1961), pp. 203, 21518; and Lincoln H. Day, "Natality and Ethnocentrism: Some Relationships Suggested by an Analysis of Catholic-Protestant Differentials," POPULATION STUDIES 22 (1968): 27-30.

19. In 1939, the median woman's wage was 60 percent of a man's; by 1966, only 53 percent. See: Allan Carlson, FROM COTTAGE TO WORK STATION: THE FAMILY'S SEARCH FOR SOCIAL HARMONY IN THE INDUSTRIAL AGE (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1993), pp. 51-56.

20. See: Allan Carlson, "A Pro-Family Income Tax," THE PUBLIC INTEREST 94 (Winter 1989): 69-76.

21. Talcott Parsons, "The Normal American Family," in MAN AND CIVILIZATION: THE FAMILY'S SEARCH FOR SURVIVAL, ed. Seymour M. Farber (New York: McGraw Hill, 1965), pp. 31-49; and Parsons, SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND PERSONALITY (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1964).

22. John Bowlby, MATERNAL CARE AND MENTAL HEALTH (New York: Schocken Books, 1950).

23. Carlson, FROM COTTAGE TO WORK STATION, pp. 139-57.

24. Larry H. Long, "Fertility Patterns Among Religious Groups in Canada," DEMOGRAPHY 7 (1970): 139-42; Thomas K. Burck, "The Fertility of North American Catholics: A Comparative Overview," DEMOGRAPHY 3 (1966): 174-87; and Jacques Legare, "Demographic Highlights of Fertility Decline in Canadian Marriage Cohorts," CANADIAN REVIEW OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY 11 (1974): 287-307.

25. See, in particular: Elizabeth Stell Genne and William Henry Genne, eds., FOUNDATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN FAMILY POLICY: THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON CHURCH AND FAMILY, APRIL 30-MAY 5, 1961 (New York: National Council of The Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., 1961).

26. See: Charles F. Westoff and Elsie T. Jones, "The End of 'Catholic Fertility,"' DEMOGRAPHY 16 (May 1979): 209-11; and Gerhard Lenski, "The Religious Factor in Detroit: Revisited," AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW 36 (1971): 48-50.

27. Leon Bouvier and S.L.N. Rao, SOCIO-RELIGIOUS FACTORS IN FERTILITY DECLINE (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1975), pp. 1-4, 84-91, 156-58; Charles Westoff and Larry Bumpass, "The Revolution in U.S. Catholic Birth Control Practices," FAMILY PLANNING PERSPECTIVES 9 (Sept.-Oct. 1977): 203-07.

28. James E. Smith, "A Familistic Religion in a Modern Society," in CONTEMPORARY MARRIAGE: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES AND A CHANGING INSTITUTION, ed. Kingsley Davis (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1985), pp. 276-96; and Tim Heaton and Sadra Calkins, "Family Size and Contraceptive Use Among Mormons, 1965-75," REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS RESEARCH 25 (Dec. 1983): 102-13.

29. Andrea Beller, "Title VII and the Male/Female Earnings Gap: An Economic Analysis," reprint 297 (Madison: Institute for Research on Poverty Research Series, University of Wisconsin, 1979).

30. George Sternlieb and James W. Hughes, AMERICA'S HOUSING: PROSPECTS AND PROBLEMS (New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research--Rutgers University, 1980), pp. 58-66.


32. See: William Gairdner, THE WAR AGAINST THE FAMILY (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing Co., 1992).

33. From: Natalie Kryiazis and J. Henripin, "Women's Employment and Fertility in Quebec," POPULATION STUDIES 36 (Nov. 1982): 432; J. Henripin and E. Lapierre-Adamcyk, LA FIN DE LA REVANCHE DES BERCEAUX: QU'EN PENSENT LES QUEBECOISES (Montreal: Les Presses de l'Universite de Montreal, 1974); and Evelyne Lapierre-Adamcyk, "Les aspirations des Quebecois en matiere de recondite en 1980," CAHIERS QUEBECOIS DE DEMOGRAPHIE 10 (Aug. 1981): 171-88.

34. Alba and Potter, "Population and Development in Mexico Since 1940,11 pp. 62-64.

35. Jeffrey B. Nugent and R. Thomas Gillaspy, "Old Age Pensions and Fertility in Rural Areas of Less Developed Countries: some Evidence from Mexico," ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CHANGE 31 (July 1983): 809-29.

36. Nugent and Gillaspy, "Old Age Pensions and Fertility in Rural Areas," p. 824.

37. G.K. Chesterton, COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. IV (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), p. 260.