A Depressing Correlation

     Trying to draw a causal connection between a measurable thing and an immeasurable thing can be an exercise in self-deception. Even so, some contemporary phenomena are important enough to make the effort. The decline in American birth rates is one such vital factor – in the exact sense.

     As Mark Steyn has said, the future belongs to those who show up for it. American birth rates suggest that the American future won’t be rosy. This page gives the U.S. fertility rate – i.e., the average number of live births per couple for the indicated year – recorded from 1950 through 2023.

     The “ZPG” rate, at which the population stays steady in the absence of immigration, is 2.1 live births per couple. The U.S. has been below that rate since 1973. Since 2017, we haven’t even managed 1.8 live births per couple. Our population is being sustained by immigration.

     Why aren’t Americans reproducing? There are several reasons, many of which I’ve discussed here and elsewhere. Today, I have a new one for the list. It seems particularly ominous to me.


     Greg Gutfeld isn’t to everyone’s taste. All the same, I haven’t caught him concealing or shading the truth. In this tirade, he notes a development that you can confirm for yourself:

     So is our imagination overactive or are people becoming less attractive? It’s something that I’ve noticed. Go anywhere and you see how fitness has become fatness. Meanwhile, people take perfectly good hair and dye it blue or purple, while others just let themselves go. But now science is proving me right. It’s the theory presented by a fellow named Shafee Hassan, who apparently is a facial analyst. A facial analyst? Sounds like the most prized job at Pornhub. Actually, Mr. Hassan runs an Australian facial esthetics consultancy firm that uses artificial intelligence to analyze people’s faces. In response to a question about why old high school yearbooks contain so many attractive people compared to today, he writes, The average person’s face is becoming increasingly disadvantaged by modern diet, sleeping patterns, pollutants and orofacial habits, creating a greater inequality in the attractives versus the unattractives.” So there you go. As predicted, now, even faces are disadvantaged. Maybe we can bus them onto more attractive people. But if we’re all getting uglier, the Democrats would call that equity.

     It’s worth reading in its entirety, though the above snippet is sufficient to light off this screed. Contemporary anti-aesthetic trends – especially the proclamation that “all bodies are beautiful” – is making Americans less attractive to one another. Is it too much of a stretch to think that might be part of the cause of our declining reproduction rate?

     Physical attraction is a precondition for the mating dance. No one – of my acquaintance, anyway – goes looking for a mate with no criteria for the mate’s appearance. Is he tall enough, fit enough, clean enough? Is she sufficiently well-proportioned, well dressed, well groomed? Does he / she exhibit the desire to present an attractive appearance to the opposite sex, or does he / she display indicators of the opposite desire?

     A couple is unlikely to couple without the partners finding one another at least adequately attractive. It’s especially unlikely to couple with reproductive intent. Sexual desperation will only take one so far.

     Yes, there are other factors, but this one should be kept in mind.


     The “Men Going Their Own Way” movement and men’s growing indifference toward marriage and family threatens the future of America as we have known it. Our population may continue to grow, as it has for a long time now, but that growth will be fueled by immigrants. I hardly need note explicitly that a lot of recent immigrants have no love for America, its founding values, or its culture.

     Yes, yes, it’s legendarily difficult to get people to breed for the sake of a future they won’t see. But the trend deserves reflection, especially when one reflects, as I do all too often, on the ascendancy of the death cults in our society.

     I’ll let Gutfeld conclude for me:

     It feels as if we as a society have given up. Look at the cities and entertainment and travel. Hell, we don’t even expect our models on the cover of swimsuit rags to be in shape, much less thin. And when we’re forced to accept it as appealing, it just doesn’t ring true. So this isn’t about ugliness. It’s about a denial of truth. As Keats said, “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.” Beauty or an aspiration for it somehow always leads you to a truth about life. Like Shakira said, “The hips don’t lie,” especially when they’re in two different area codes.

     Verbum sat sapienti.


Skip to comment form

    • jwm on August 2, 2023 at 7:53 AM

    This ties in with something I have suspected for quite a while now. Much of what we see in the degradation of our culture appears to me to be a spiritual assault. I observed this early in the years following the September 11 attacks. Back then, before it became a commonly stated observation, I recognized that we were entering The Great Inversion.  It is the will of God that life should flourish. For all of our faults as a people and a nation, life here has indeed flourished. The Adversary would do what it could unmake that. Total War has been declared against the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

    Witness the revolting fad for tattooing, especially among women. How many otherwise beautiful young women have vandalized their bodies with ugly tattoos. (as if there was any other kind) Of course the men are worse. They run around looking like pacific island cannibals. I see people everywhere whose skin looks like a toilet stall in an inner city gas station. The piercings, the stretched ear lobes and nostrils are reminiscent of the grotesque Ubangi. This is worship of the primitive, emulating a people incapable of discovering the wheel. And the fat. Every day I see fat, dumpy, slovenly women tatted up like prison inmates. I always wonder, “In what universe do they think this makes them less ugly?”



    • pc-not on August 2, 2023 at 7:58 AM

    A few years ago, I build an addition for a wonderful couple who happened to be entertaining guests from Germany while I was there.  I was fortunate enough to converse with them a little.  Their first stop in America was Disney in Orlando.  Upon entering the park, they assumed it happened to be a designated day for overweight people, since such a high percentage of those Disneyworld attendees were fat.  To their horror, they discovered that it was not a politically correct event, but just another ordinary day.

    Most of the time when I go out in public, I can’t help but notice how people go to the grocery store or fast-food joints.   Tatoos, piercings, colored hair flip flops worn by everyone.   My grandparents would roll over in their graves.

    • SteveF on August 2, 2023 at 8:34 AM

    Hell, we don’t even expect our models on the cover of swimsuit rags to be in shape, much less thin.

    Or male, anymore.

    The average person’s face is becoming increasingly disadvantaged by…

    And personality. If you view the world through a lens of contempt or entitlement, it shows on your face. And it’s not attractive.

    An important but less mentioned datum regarding birth rates in the US is that the biggest change from a few decades ago is the increase in women who have had no children by the end of their fertile years. Of women who do have children, the proportion who have one, two, three, or four or more children has been pretty steady since antibiotics, sanitation, and better nutrition reduced childhood mortality. In recent decades, though, the fraction of women who are childless has skyrocketed. That by itself explains the drop in children per woman from about 2.3 to about 1.7.

    By the way, I use “children per woman” rather than “children per couple” because the expectation of monogamy and marriage for life died right around the time that I was born. (NB: correlation does not imply causation)

    • OneGuy on August 2, 2023 at 10:38 AM

    I disagree that our population needs to grow.  I would favor an active and aggressive effort to remove every non-citizen from America.  100% no green cards, no H1B, no overstays, no retirees, everyone goes if they were not legally born here.  THEN housing would be affordable and our federal budget could be balanced.

    • Steve on August 2, 2023 at 11:04 AM

    @SteveF, “If you view the world through a lens of contempt or entitlement, it shows on your face. And it’s not attractive.”

    The big one I notice is envy. Covetousness is alive and well, and I think constantly reveling in sin leaves its mark. Look at pretty much any political or activist figure out there.

Comments have been disabled.