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Angela
22-04-16, 18:05
Apparently, the rate of births to unmarried women is increasing in western Europe.

See: 7685

Is that something that should be concerning?

A. Papadimitriou
22-04-16, 19:06
I also found this:
7686

Personally I don't think it's a problem by itself. But I don't understand it either.

bicicleur
22-04-16, 22:01
the question is, will and can these unmarried mothers take the full responsability for the ecucation of their children ?
or do they expect society to take responsability ?

Angela
22-04-16, 22:40
Well, it does concern me if the women having these children are not in a long term committed relationship, at least from what I'm seeing here in the U.S.

There's the economic implications, as Bicicleur has pointed out. The poorest people in our society are single mothers and their children. Even if they're not on welfare, a lot of them have to get food stamps, housing help, medicaid etc.

Then, with only one parent to help with child care, and the mother working the children don't get the supervision they need or the help with discipline.

Maybe I'm really old fashioned, but I think children need two parents. I don't see anything good happening as a result of this. I'm glad to see that Italy has relatively low rates for this.

Yetos
23-04-16, 00:28
well
who can mess with a modern European woman, :laughing:
and how many men are men today? :thinking:

some things becomes fashion, or are forced by our modern way of life?
also liberty of sex, accidently can bring a baby, and the responsible father could not wanted, but he wanted sex :angry:
many of these mothers are victims, of rape, of sex 'curiosity' or fun, of many other things,
and one well known reason is sex bussiness,

A. Papadimitriou
23-04-16, 01:12
Well, it does concern me if the women having these children are not in a long term committed relationship, at least from what I'm seeing here in the U.S.

There's the economic implications, as Bicicleur has pointed out. The poorest people in our society are single mothers and their children. Even if they're not on welfare, a lot of them have to get food stamps, housing help, medicaid etc.

Then, with only one parent to help with child care, and the mother working the children don't get the supervision they need or the help with discipline.

Maybe I'm really old fashioned, but I think children need two parents. I don't see anything good happening as a result of this. I'm glad to see that Italy has relatively low rates for this.

Maybe in some countries there are couples in long term relationships who chose not to marry? Or at least the fathers acknowledge paternity and help economically the mothers?
That's the reason I said that "by itself" is not a problem. I agree with you though.

LeBrok
23-04-16, 04:44
Anyway, I knew how conservative Polish people are in this regard, but I didn't expect west Germans to be in the same department. Interesting map, Angela. Looking at East and West Germany the issue seems to be very cultural in its nature. Perhaps, fashion like.

PS. Anecdotally, I just met the most beautiful, good natured and smart baby yesterday. Child of a single woman and dad from a sperm bank. Go figure.
I'm not saying it is a best way to raise a child, but it might not be the end of the world. Perhaps, good genes will always produce good human being, regardless of one good parent or two?

bicicleur
23-04-16, 09:14
the thing is that man and woman don't want to commit to each other any more
marriage for life is out of fashion
monogamie is gone
those few who can afford it have multiple sex friends
others have 'sequential monogamie', they switch partner every 10 years
others stay alone and wait and see 'what comes around'

these high-illegitimacy rates come along with low birth rates in Europe
children are a burden, they prevent the parents from moving around freely
single mothers are certainly not the solution for the low birth rates
in the old days children were looking for their parents when they were old
I suggest they stop paying money for the children to be raised, but they also stop paying pensions
stop artificial 'solidarity' paid by the taxpayer and make people rely more on their family again

A. Papadimitriou
23-04-16, 14:14
Estonia stands out for single mothers and unmarried couples

A comparative analysis done by Statistics Estonia shows that only 39 percent of marriageable age Estonians are married. This is the lowest figure in the EU.

In Estonia, roughly 50 percent of couples who live together are married. In Cyprus, Greece and Malta, for instance, this figure is around 80 percent.Researchers have noted that marriage is generally more popular in the tradition-loving southern European countries, whereas northern Europe stands out as a hotbed of non-traditional cohabitation forms. The statistics also show that the popularity of marriage is directly linked to the spread of religion in a country.According to the analysis, every fourth single-family household in Estonia consists of an unmarried couple. The number of cohabiting couples is higher only in Sweden (27 percent).The need to protect the children born to such families and other family members is what led the government to pass the cohabitation bill last fall.In addition to cohabiting couples, Estonia also stands out for single parents. One in five Estonian families is made up of a single mother and her children. Only Latvia has a higher number of single mothers (28 percent).Estonia also ranks high for the number of divorcees. According to the last census, 14 percent of over-15 year-olds are divorced and have not remarried. Once again, only in Latvia is this figure even higher.Psychologist and family therapist Sirje Agan said that nowadays people value a good and happy relationship over a marriage certificate. "In the past, people lived in larger communities and the support network was not limited to one's partner. Today, the partner tends to be the primary supporter a person has. Families are small, hence, the quality of the relationship is of utmost importance. People spend more time deliberating on their life together and the state of the relationship," she said.

That's an example of a country where there is a large number of couples that live together but not marry, as far as I understand. But also 1/5 families "are made up of a single mother and her children".

Maciamo
23-04-16, 15:47
Apparently, the rate of births to unmarried women is increasing in western Europe.

See: 7685

Is that something that should be concerning?


Well, it does concern me if the women having these children are not in a long term committed relationship, at least from what I'm seeing here in the U.S.

In the US births out of wedlocks are often linked to single mothers. That is because the country is so religious and most couples who decide to have children and live together do get married. But in the northern half of Europe religion is irrelevant (except Poland and Ireland) and the only people who are getting married do it for legal reasons or because the woman (usually) wants to hold a wedding party. Belgium is more religious in average than France, Britain, the Netherlands or Scandinavia, but most of the weddings I have attended there had nothing to do with religion. Often people just have the wedding party without going to church at all. Even those who do decide to have a ceremony at the church may not be Christian or not believe in god. It's more tradition than anything else.

Note that the rate of births to unmarried women correlates almost perfectly with the lack of religious affiliation (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/32016-Lack-of-religious-affiliation-set-to-become-mainstream-in-Western-countries), the least religious countries being East Germany, the Czech Republic, France, and Nordic countries. More religious countries like Poland and Italy have virtually no marriage out of wedlock. Even poorer Bulgaria is far less religious than neighbouring Romania, Turkey and Greece, and that also translates in lower marriage rates.

About half of the Belgian people I know who have children aren't married, but live together just as if they were. In fact I noticed that unmarried couples are less likely to separate (I won't use the term divorce as they aren't married) than married couples. Among the people I know, 80% of the parents who split up were married. I think there may be a psychological factor in play too. Couples who feel the need to get married may be the ones who feel more insecure about their relationship and feel that officially sealing their union will help keep them together. Of course that doesn't work at all.

I do not personally know any woman in Belgium who had children without being in a committed relationship with the father. There are single mothers, but all those I know divorced/separated many years after the births of their kids. Usually parents who don't get along anymore wait until their children are teenagers before divorcing/separating. I think that the situation is very different in the USA.

A. Papadimitriou
23-04-16, 16:13
I want to say something about Greeks. The article I cited about Estonia is correct when it says " the popularity of marriage is directly linked to the spread of religion in a country"
But it would be wrong to assume that the Greeks marry because they are religious. Most Greeks (~75%) are "religious" twice a year, on Easter and on Christmas.

Maciamo
23-04-16, 16:38
I want to say something about Greeks. The article I cited about Estonia is correct when it says " the popularity of marriage is directly linked to the spread of religion in a country"
But it would be wrong to assume that the Greeks marry because they are religious. Most Greeks (~75%) are "religious" twice a year, on Easter and on Christmas.


Most Greeks believe in god, in heaven and in life after death. That is being religious. No need to go to church, read the bible and go on a pilgrimage to be considered religious. It's a state of mind.

Maciamo
23-04-16, 16:55
PS. Anecdotally, I just met the most beautiful, good natured and smart baby yesterday. Child of a single woman and dad from a sperm bank. Go figure.
I'm not saying it is a best way to raise a child, but it might not be the end of the world. Perhaps, good genes will always produce good human being, regardless of one good parent or two?

That's the old nature vs nurture debate. Like Matt Ridley (see The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture (http://smile.amazon.com/Agile-Gene-Nature-Turns-Nurture/dp/006000679X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461422602&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=The+Agile+Gene+P)) I am well past this dichotomy and think that nurture is important but can only fulfil an individual's genetic potential. So in an equal society with universal free education, nature (good genes) always prime over nurture. Beauty and intelligence are highly hereditary, but so is temperament (things like natural curiosity, kindness, sociability, extraversion, neuroticism, orderliness, novelty-seeking, risk-seeking, promiscuity, etc.). Many studies have shown that ultimately the way parents educate their children has little effect on who they become as adults. Differences in education and upbringing will be most marked in childhood, but progressively decrease with age while the influence of genes increases with age.

Religions have always stressed the importance of family values and top-down education (an other word for brainwashing), but all recent studies have shown that kids learn better when they are free to satisfy their curiosity by themselves, Montessori style (or Wikipedia style).

Angela
23-04-16, 17:17
In terms of negative effects on children and society in general I don't think it very much matters whether the couple/parents did or did not go through a formal marriage ceremony. The most important thing is whether there are at least two people sharing the financial and emotional/psychological costs and the time demands of raising children.

I don't think this is only an issue for the U.S. and other Anglo countries or we wouldn't see figures of 25% and 28% of households being composed of single mothers and children in countries like Estonia and Latvia. (Obviously, these are younger children or they wouldn't be in the single mother headed household, so this isn't a case where the parents separated after the children were grown and independent.)

There is no way that this is a good situation in my opinion. Not only experience but all the statistics are against it, showing that neurosis and virtually all forms of social pathology are higher among such children, whether the parents were initially formally married or not. Unless the relationship between the parents is really toxic, it's better for most children if the marriage or long term relationship stays intact. Nothing is 100% genetically determined. Environment acting on a given genetic profile has some part to play.

That is why, in studies conducted in multiple countries, fatherlessness correlates with social pathology " by comparing criminals of the same race, education, income, and mother's education whose primary observable difference is family structure, social scientists have come as close as they can to making the causal case with the methodological tools available."

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/the-real-complex-connection-between-single-parent-families-and-crime/265860/

That doesn't mean that some children won't be alright in such situations. A very dear friend of mine is a child psychologist. He's told me more than once that some children will thrive no matter the odds stacked against them. Some won't thrive no matter the care and good parenting lavished on them. For most, parenting, stressful events and peer pressure will have an impact, differing depending on the child. Everything I've read tells me he's correct.

As for the impact of religion, it's not as simple as more religious equals less single mothers. I know my own area of Italy very well. While people may say they believe in God or Christ the churches are empty and people pay absolutely no attention to Church teachings about sexuality. If you don't believe pre-marital or extra-marital sex is a sin, then it's not going to affect whether you go to heaven after death or not. That's been the case for decades, if not longer, and yet I don't see virtually any single mothers with children. (Indeed, in the 19th and early 20th century many peasant marriages were celebrated after the wife was already pregnant, and that was the case in many European countries. So long as the parents married, pre-marital sex didn't result in a huge social stigma.)

Even in the U.S. there's no perfect correlation. Black Americans are very religious and yet have extraordinarily high rates of single mother headed households. The same is true in the American south and in most rural areas where church attendance is high.

LeBrok
23-04-16, 18:29
Definitely, it is very hard, if not impossible, to calculate effect of genetics or environment on human being. Complicated environments like human life always will be open to interpretation. Even statistical data is not easy to interpret in such complicated environments.



Beauty and intelligence are highly hereditary, but so is temperament (things like natural curiosity, kindness, sociability, extraversion, neuroticism, orderliness, novelty-seeking, risk-seeking, promiscuity, etc.). Also addictiveness, psychopathy or adrenalin high might be in this group. In this case, no matter what parents do, a child will be drawn to the "Dark Side", or "Tempted" to do menacing and antisocial acts. Breaking rules give some people feeling of excitment, a natural high.

Behavioural Geneticist Robert Plomin says 50-70% is genetic effect.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0_NsS1Zdlk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfJppddMgmA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUCkylLAxK0
Interestingly, he confirms my beliefs that sociologists and parents with single child are seeing Nurture as only influence.


There is no way that this is a good situation in my opinion. All the statistics are against it, showing that neurosis and virtually all forms of social pathology are higher among such children, whether the parents were initially formally married or not. Unless the relationship between the parents is really toxic, it's better for children if the marriage or long term relationship stays intact. Nothing is 100% genetically determined. Environment, acting on a given genetic profile has some part to play. There might be genetic impact on some families which split leaving a single mother with a child. Unwillingness to compromise, stubbornness, emotional explosiveness, lack of self restraint, addictiveness could be overwhelmingly genetic in their nature. People with these traits are unable to hold family together. Kids inheriting these traits from parents will be problem kids in home, street and school. By measure of old school, behaviour of these kids will be blamed almost strictly on single parent environment, single mother in most cases. However, in many case it could have been all father's genetics doing. If father was the one with difficult character and if child inherited these difficult traits from him, one will destroy family union, the other will be a difficult child. No matter if a mother was the best wife and mother in the world.
I'm stressing here that no matter if parents stay together or not, the result of having difficult child might be exactly the same. It was father's bed genetics destroying family and creating bed kid. This could show in statistics of single mothers unjustifiably affecting their reputation.

Angela
23-04-16, 20:41
A rough sort of analogy could be drawn to situations where people are exposed to traumatic occurrences, although these are clearly more extreme situations. The results will be different depending on the genetic make-up of the individual person. This happens with schizophrenia, for example. I don't think anyone denies that there is a huge genetic component to schizophrenia. However, those people in which it manifests usually have experienced what is called a "trigger event" at the particularly vulnerable age of early adolescence/young adulthood. The same thing occurs with PTSD. Exposed to the same events, some people will come down with it and some won't. Surely, we shouldn't want people to be exposed to these things just because some people will ultimately be ok.

I try to keep this in mind when I have a tendency to be rather hard on people who fall apart dealing with a lot less stress than has come my way.

As I said upthread, some children are almost invulnerable, some are highly fragile and some are in the middle.

I in no way want to throw mothers under the bus in this discussion. I know single mothers who are heroic in their devotion and are doing the best they can in difficult circumstances (as are couples who have inherently difficult children). Nor is this a situation that was unknown in prior periods. In more perilous times, many families lost a mother or a father. My point is that while this situation is sometimes unavoidable, it isn't the optimum situation for a child, and I think that in many cases it can be an irresponsible choice. I see too many parents who put their own selfish needs and desires above the needs of their children, and that's a trend that is increasing in modern society in my opinion, and results in a younger generation with far too many badly socialized children.

I also agree with Bicicleur that part of the reason lies in the fact that westernized societies financially subsidize the decision by some young women to have children sans husband or well paying job. I think that's a mistake. Obviously, a lot of young women are also raised by parents who haven't drummed into their heads that you don't have children until you can care for them properly. They're not pets. Or, the parents have let it be known that they'll shoulder or help shoulder the responsibility. Even though I obviously would if it were necessary, I didn't think it was necessary to share that information with my own children. The message to them was that if you do this, the responsibility will be yours; I've raised mine and I'm not going to raise another generation. It's time to be a grown-up. This shop is closed.

Well, anyway, I found another table in my files which relates to this topic. It provides data for single parent households by country. In this one, although Estonia still has high rates, the highest ones are in Anglo countries.

7688

Maciamo
23-04-16, 22:13
As for the impact of religion, it's not as simple as more religious equals less single mothers. I know my own area of Italy very well. While people may say they believe in God or Christ the churches are empty and people pay absolutely no attention to Church teachings about sexuality. If you don't believe pre-marital or extra-marital sex is a sin, then it's not going to affect whether you go to heaven after death or not. That's been the case for decades, if not longer, and yet I don't see virtually any single mothers with children. (Indeed, in the 19th and early 20th century many peasant marriages were celebrated after the wife was already pregnant, and that was the case in many European countries. So long as the parents married, pre-marital sex didn't result in a huge social stigma.)

Even in the U.S. there's no perfect correlation. Black Americans are very religious and yet have extraordinarily high rates of single mother headed households. The same is true in the American south and in most rural areas where church attendance is high.

I suppose that you were replying to my comments. If so, that is not at all what I wanted to say. The map that you posted was about the rate of births to unmarried women. What I was trying to explain is that in northern and western Europe at least, most children born to unmarried women had two parents. It's not because parents aren't married that they don't live together in a stable, committed and loving relationship. As I explained, I don't know any single mothers in Belgium, but half of the couples (living together) who have children aren't married, because the law gives almost the same advantages to a couple who is cohabiting to to a married couple.

Being religious essentially means believing in god and seeing oneself as an adherent to one specific religion. It doesn't matter if people go to church or not. There are practising and non-participating religious people, but they are both religious. On the other side, the non-religious people are those who describe themselves as agnostics, atheists, or even 'spiritual but not religious' (which usually means pantheist or New Age).

The fact remains that over 90% of Italians consider themselves Christian and therefore would be classified as religious, even if they never go to church, don't listen to the Pope and have pre-marital sex. Italy is also one of the few countries (along with the USA) where priests have the power to legally marry people. Elsewhere in the Western world, anyone who is married only by a priest in a church is NOT legally married. Only officials in town halls have the power to marry people.

In countries like Belgium, France or Denmark, it is increasingly common to have a wedding with no church and no priest at all. When I got married, one of the conditions was that there would be no church, no priest and no religious symbol of any kind, including no ring and no veil. I know many people who only got married many years after their children were born, just to have a party, but it also had no religious significance at all. Marriage in Northwest Europe (except Ireland) has a completely different meaning than in the USA (or Italy for that matter).

I believe that you posted this topic to discuss the issue of single mothers. What I was trying to explain is that statistics about illegitimacy rates or marriage rates do not provide any insight into this in Europe because they are are completely uncorrelated with the rate of single mothers. The United States actually has the highest percentage of single mothers (25.8% according to an OECD survey in 2007) and children living with neither of their parent (3.5%), but the USA also has the highest rate of marriage (6.8 per 1,000 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm) people) in the OECD after Turkey and Lithuania.

In contrast, most EU countries have marriage rates (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Crude_marriage_rate,_selected_years,_1960%E2% 80%932013_%28per_1_000_inhabitants%29_YB15.png) ranging from 3 to 4 per 1,000 people, roughly half of the USA. Exceptions are very southern or very eastern countries, including Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania and Latvia, but even among them only Lithuania is comparable to the USA with a marriage rate of 6.9 per 1,000 people. Even ultra-religious Malta is at 6.1 per 1,000 people.

In the data you posted about the distribution of children by household type, you can see that children living with cohabiting parents is rare in the USA (2.9%), but very common in France (21%) or Sweden (30%). Yet France has one of the lowest percentage of single-parent household, almost half of the USA.

So clearly it's not because people get married a lot, like in the US, that it prevents the development of single-parent households.

Ironically the EU country with the highest percentage of single mothers is Ireland, which is also one of the most religious countries and one with the a relatively high marriage rate. So I am not surprised that Black Americans also combine high religiosity and a high rate of single mothers. In fact this can be explained by the religious stigma of abortion. Unwanted or accidental pregnancies among people who are not in a committed relationship aren't terminated and therefore lead to mothers having to take care of the child on their own. Ireland and the USA are two of the most conservative countries in the Western world regarding abortion laws, and they both top the list of percentage of single-parent households. This is where you should look for the cause of single motherhoods. Anti-abortion laws are some of the worst laws any country could ever produce, especially in countries with liberated attitudes to sex. It has been proven that crime rates dropped about 15-20 years after any country legalised abortion. Unwanted pregnancies breed unhappy children in impoverished homes, which in turn lead to criminality.

You mentioned the psychological trauma of children raised by single mothers, but in my opinion the odds of that happening are much higher when it was an unwanted pregnancy, and even worse when there is no support of the mother's family and that she doesn't have a well-paid job (since money can buy child care or at least help). There are many career professional women who don't have time for relationships and intentionally decide to become single mothers. But since these are wealthy and educated mothers who truly wish to have a child, I wouldn't worry so much about the child's well-being. At least I would think that there situation is comparable to kids born in families where both parents have well-paid but very busy jobs are recruit wet nurses and nannies to take care of their children. It's not the same as being cared for full time by one's biological parents, but the kids do get the attention and care they need, and often more as the true parents tend to make up for it during their free time. What I meant by that is that socio-economic status is often more important than to know with how many parents a child lives. As to whether the parents are married or cohabiting, it is completely irrelevant to a child's well being.

LeBrok
24-04-16, 01:15
I in no way want to throw mothers under the bus in this discussion. I know single mothers who are heroic in their devotion and are doing the best they can in difficult circumstances (as are couples who have inherently difficult children). Nor is this a situation that was unknown in prior periods. In more perilous times, many families lost a mother or a father. My point is that while this situation is sometimes unavoidable, it isn't the optimum situation for a child, and I think that in many cases it can be an irresponsible choice. I see too many parents who put their own selfish needs and desires above the needs of their children, and that's a trend that is increasing in modern society in my opinion, and results in a younger generation with far too many badly socialized children.Even when I stand defending single mothers I believe, like you, that mother and father are the basic family union and should raise kids together. This should give best results. By extension of this philosophy having grandparents around and extended family should be even better. We just can't calculate, how much of a "lesser" child, it will be, without all the help and attention. In my mind the difference might not be so great or visibly great. Just few statistical points here and there possibly.
If it is greater than that it could be due to fewer dollars a single mother can afford to spend to improve kid's education, nutritional health, activities, etc. To help this, and possible future trend of single mother nations, we should make all education from kindergarten to universities free, plus some activity classes.
Otherwise I'm not sure if this trend is reversible. Maybe it will stop at some level or fluctuate like a pendulum of fashion? At the end of a day, what is left to do, is to make sure single mother have all sorts of help. Sort of damage limitation on new generation.

Fire Haired14
24-04-16, 04:19
In the US births out of wedlocks are often linked to single mothers. That is because the country is so religious and most couples who decide to have children and live together do get married. But in the northern half of Europe religion is irrelevant (except Poland and Ireland) and the only people who are getting married do it for legal reasons or because the woman (usually) wants to hold a wedding party. Belgium is more religious in average than France, Britain, the Netherlands or Scandinavia, but most of the weddings I have attended there had nothing to do with religion. Often people just have the wedding party without going to church at all. Even those who do decide to have a ceremony at the church may not be Christian or not believe in god. It's more tradition than anything else.

Note that the rate of births to unmarried women correlates almost perfectly with the lack of religious affiliation (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/32016-Lack-of-religious-affiliation-set-to-become-mainstream-in-Western-countries), the least religious countries being East Germany, the Czech Republic, France, and Nordic countries. More religious countries like Poland and Italy have virtually no marriage out of wedlock. Even poorer Bulgaria is far less religious than neighbouring Romania, Turkey and Greece, and that also translates in lower marriage rates.

About half of the Belgian people I know who have children aren't married, but live together just as if they were. In fact I noticed that unmarried couples are less likely to separate (I won't use the term divorce as they aren't married) than married couples. Among the people I know, 80% of the parents who split up were married. I think there may be a psychological factor in play too. Couples who feel the need to get married may be the ones who feel more insecure about their relationship and feel that officially sealing their union will help keep them together. Of course that doesn't work at all.

I do not personally know any woman in Belgium who had children without being in a committed relationship with the father. There are single mothers, but all those I know divorced/separated many years after the births of their kids. Usually parents who don't get along anymore wait until their children are teenagers before divorcing/separating. I think that the situation is very different in the USA.

What does marriage have to do with religion? You don't have to have a ceremony in a church to get married. This makes no sense.

Maciamo
24-04-16, 09:28
What does marriage have to do with religion? You don't have to have a ceremony in a church to get married. This makes no sense.

Non-religious people can choose to get marry or cohabit. That's a purely legal decision. They can choose to have a wedding party or not, in a church or completely secular. All possibilities are open. But religious people will always get married (and hold a religious ceremony) if they plan to live together and have children because that is what religion dictates in such circumstances. So for religious people marriage has everything to do with religion. Religious people do not enjoy the same freedom as non-religious people. They are bound by their religious beliefs and rules, even if they disagree with them. That's the definition of religion. You can't pick and choose what you like, otherwise you have your own beliefs and aren't considered religious anymore.

I think you did not read my post properly anyway, as I was explaining that marriage is irrelevant to the issue of single parents in Europe as many people cohabit without being married.

Angela
24-04-16, 16:41
I suppose that you were replying to my comments. If so, that is not at all what I wanted to say. The map that you posted was about the rate of births to unmarried women. What I was trying to explain is that in northern and western Europe at least, most children born to unmarried women had two parents. It's not because parents aren't married that they don't live together in a stable, committed and loving relationship. As I explained, I don't know any single mothers in Belgium, but half of the couples (living together) who have children aren't married, because the law gives almost the same advantages to a couple who is cohabiting to to a married couple.

Being religious essentially means believing in god and seeing oneself as an adherent to one specific religion. It doesn't matter if people go to church or not. There are practising and non-participating religious people, but they are both religious. On the other side, the non-religious people are those who describe themselves as agnostics, atheists, or even 'spiritual but not religious' (which usually means pantheist or New Age).

The fact remains that over 90% of Italians consider themselves Christian and therefore would be classified as religious, even if they never go to church, don't listen to the Pope and have pre-marital sex. Italy is also one of the few countries (along with the USA) where priests have the power to legally marry people. Elsewhere in the Western world, anyone who is married only by a priest in a church is NOT legally married. Only officials in town halls have the power to marry people.

In countries like Belgium, France or Denmark, it is increasingly common to have a wedding with no church and no priest at all. When I got married, one of the conditions was that there would be no church, no priest and no religious symbol of any kind, including no ring and no veil. I know many people who only got married many years after their children were born, just to have a party, but it also had no religious significance at all. Marriage in Northwest Europe (except Ireland) has a completely different meaning than in the USA (or Italy for that matter).

I believe that you posted this topic to discuss the issue of single mothers. What I was trying to explain is that statistics about illegitimacy rates or marriage rates do not provide any insight into this in Europe because they are are completely uncorrelated with the rate of single mothers. The United States actually has the highest percentage of single mothers (25.8% according to an OECD survey in 2007) and children living with neither of their parent (3.5%), but the USA also has the highest rate of marriage (6.8 per 1,000 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm) people) in the OECD after Turkey and Lithuania.

In contrast, most EU countries have marriage rates (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Crude_marriage_rate,_selected_years,_1960%E2% 80%932013_%28per_1_000_inhabitants%29_YB15.png) ranging from 3 to 4 per 1,000 people, roughly half of the USA. Exceptions are very southern or very eastern countries, including Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania and Latvia, but even among them only Lithuania is comparable to the USA with a marriage rate of 6.9 per 1,000 people. Even ultra-religious Malta is at 6.1 per 1,000 people.

In the data you posted about the distribution of children by household type, you can see that children living with cohabiting parents is rare in the USA (2.9%), but very common in France (21%) or Sweden (30%). Yet France has one of the lowest percentage of single-parent household, almost half of the USA.

So clearly it's not because people get married a lot, like in the US, that it prevents the development of single-parent households.

Ironically the EU country with the highest percentage of single mothers is Ireland, which is also one of the most religious countries and one with the a relatively high marriage rate. So I am not surprised that Black Americans also combine high religiosity and a high rate of single mothers. In fact this can be explained by the religious stigma of abortion. Unwanted or accidental pregnancies among people who are not in a committed relationship aren't terminated and therefore lead to mothers having to take care of the child on their own. Ireland and the USA are two of the most conservative countries in the Western world regarding abortion laws, and they both top the list of percentage of single-parent households. This is where you should look for the cause of single motherhoods. Anti-abortion laws are some of the worst laws any country could ever produce, especially in countries with liberated attitudes to sex. It has been proven that crime rates dropped about 15-20 years after any country legalised abortion. Unwanted pregnancies breed unhappy children in impoverished homes, which in turn lead to criminality.

You mentioned the psychological trauma of children raised by single mothers, but in my opinion the odds of that happening are much higher when it was an unwanted pregnancy, and even worse when there is no support of the mother's family and that she doesn't have a well-paid job (since money can buy child care or at least help). There are many career professional women who don't have time for relationships and intentionally decide to become single mothers. But since these are wealthy and educated mothers who truly wish to have a child, I wouldn't worry so much about the child's well-being. At least I would think that there situation is comparable to kids born in families where both parents have well-paid but very busy jobs are recruit wet nurses and nannies to take care of their children. It's not the same as being cared for full time by one's biological parents, but the kids do get the attention and care they need, and often more as the true parents tend to make up for it during their free time. What I meant by that is that socio-economic status is often more important than to know with how many parents a child lives. As to whether the parents are married or cohabiting, it is completely irrelevant to a child's well being.

I began the thread with a question as to whether it should be of concern that increasing numbers of children are born to unmarried parents. I later answered my own question and stated that I'm personally not concerned about the increase in the birth of children to unmarried couples, but I am concerned about the increase in single mother households. (I'm aware that there are more unmarried, cohabiting couples having children in Europe in comparison to the situation in the U.S. where the rate of marriage is higher.)

As to that situation, Belgium's percentage of single parent households (which I assume is usually, as in all western countries, single mother households) is actually a little high for Europe, 16% versus neighboring Holland's 11%, for example, although not as high as in the UK and "Anglo" countries.

As to your argument about the impact of religion in these matters, I think it is more nuanced than what you are proposing. The decision to have and keep a child as a single mother is impacted by many factors, including class and the mores of one's particular social group or community. In terms of religion it isn't about being "technically" a member of a religion, or even less of just believing in God, it's about how one interprets that religion.

Ireland is indeed an interesting case in that regard. Ireland, Poland, and Portugal are all Roman Catholic countries, yet the rate of single motherhood in Ireland is 23% (coincidentally, about the same as in non-Catholic England) versus 11% for Poland and Portugal. Why? The last I remember reading about it young people in Ireland are not very observant any longer either.

How the availability of abortion factors into all of this is also interesting. Is abortion still illegal in Ireland? What about in Poland and Portugal? As a country formerly ruled by Communists I would think it used to be widely available in Poland. Regardless, the belief that abortion is a sin is universal in Roman Catholicism. If it's available in Poland and Portugal, and that's why the rates of single motherhood are lower, then obviously a general belief in God or even "technical" identification as a Roman Catholic doesn't mean that people follow church teachings about sexuality.

As I said, it's complicated.

By way of comparison, abortion in the U.S. is available all the way through to the end of term, meaning that even partial birth abortions can be performed (something which I find abhorrent, by the way), and yet we still have almost a quarter of our households headed by single mothers. Religion does play a role in that, but class factors are even more important, in my opinion. For all the discussion in the media here about single professional women choosing to have a child on their own, that's a small percentage of the single mother headed households. The majority are poor women, white and black, who got pregnant young and the man had no intention of marrying them, which is a recipe for disaster, or the children of divorced mothers, many of whom become poor, whatever their status originally.

This is all complicated by the fact that abortion is seen by some in the black community as a way for the white community to practice genocide against them. In poor white communities the lack of recourse to it is in part religious but even more a reflection of the dis-regulation of their lives in general, and the fact that many of the families are on welfare anyway so the difference in lifestyle isn't all that great. In white middle and upper class communities where the whole family goes to church on Sunday the girls in those families are usually on the pill (which is also against church teaching) so the issue doesn't arise all that frequently, but if it does the family usually arranges a quiet abortion and are then back in church on Sunday. People are multi-dimensional. It's not for nothing that we talk about "cafeteria Catholics". It may not be kosher, but it's what many Catholics do.

As for the impact on children of having been unwanted, of course I think that would be detrimental. However, that kind of resentment might be present in a myriad of different situations; a woman can resent a child whether or not she's raising that child alone.

A. Papadimitriou
24-04-16, 16:41
Most Greeks believe in god, in heaven and in life after death. That is being religious. No need to go to church, read the bible and go on a pilgrimage to be considered religious. It's a state of mind.
This is wrong, at least if the definition of "religious" is something like the following. Also the beliefs about heaven or afterlife are very vague (not dogmatically consistent). Belief in God is high though.


: believing in a god or a group of gods and following the rules of a religion
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religious
In UK also most people believe in afterlife and heaven and large minorities believe in ghosts, reincarnation and fortune telling. That's not religiousness though.

Angela
24-04-16, 16:49
Even when I stand defending single mothers I believe, like you, that mother and father are the basic family union and should raise kids together. This should give best results. By extension of this philosophy having grandparents around and extended family should be even better. We just can't calculate, how much of a "lesser" child, it will be, without all the help and attention. In my mind the difference might not be so great or visibly great. Just few statistical points here and there possibly.
If it is greater than that it could be due to fewer dollars a single mother can afford to spend to improve kid's education, nutritional health, activities, etc. To help this, and possible future trend of single mother nations, we should make all education from kindergarten to universities free, plus some activity classes.
Otherwise I'm not sure if this trend is reversible. Maybe it will stop at some level or fluctuate like a pendulum of fashion? At the end of a day, what is left to do, is to make sure single mother have all sorts of help. Sort of damage limitation on new generation.

Education is already free here all the way through high school, and any child from a lower socio-economic bracket, especially if they come from a disadvantaged minority group, is guaranteed a free college education; the colleges are desperate to increase their "diversity". It doesn't seem to be making all that much difference. Nor does the free nursery school education that is provided in minority communities.

I guess I'm not as generous as you are, LeBrok. I made sacrifices in order to get an education and get my career going, and waited until my husband and I could provide for children before having them. I resent having to pay for other people's irresponsible choices, although since it's not the fault of the children I'm resigned to it.

Maciamo
24-04-16, 18:09
As to that situation, Belgium's percentage of single parent households (which I assume is usually, as in all western countries, single mother households) is actually a little high for Europe, 16% versus neighboring Holland's 11%, for example, although not as high as in the UK and "Anglo" countries.

I wonder whether the stats for children living in single-parents household include children whose divorced parents have shared custody, and spend one week at on parent's house, and the next week at the other parents, or weekdays with one parent and weekend with the other parent. This is very common here, but usually for teenage children, as it is very rare for parents to divorce when they have younger children. Some divorced parents might remarry or more commonly cohabit with a new partner. So children of divorced parents might still live at alternate times with each parent and occasionally have one or two step-parents as well. That wouldn't be much worse than living with both biological parents at the same time. It is very different from the case of a lower class teenage girl getting pregnant, refusing abortion of religious grounds, and having to raise the child on her own and never seeing the father ever again. The latter situation is unfortunately rather common among the American lower classes (especially Black Americans), but practically unheard of in Belgium.

Statistics really need to be more accurate to have any meaning. The situation of a 16 year old child from a well-off family whose parents just had an amicable
divorce with shared custody and who still maintain cordial relations and see each others every week without any bitterness toward one another, is completely different from the destitute teenage single mother who isn't even sure which potential father got her pregnant. Yet you can't see those vital differences in the statistics, as both would be listed as 'child in a single-parent household'.


As to your argument about the impact of religion in these matters, I think it is more nuanced than what you are proposing. The decision to have and keep a child as a single mother is impacted by many factors, including class and the mores of one's particular social group or community. In terms of religion it isn't about being "technically" a member of a religion, or even less of just believing in God, it's about how one interprets that religion.

Not really, since by definition anyone who choose not to follow the rules of a religion does not belong to that religion. In Belgium about 30% of the population believes in god but don't consider themselves Catholic because they don't agree with all the Catholic dogma anymore. These are considered 'spiritual but not religious' as they are theists who don't follow the rules of religion. Another 20% are agnostics and 7% are clear atheists.

In the USA religiosity remains extremely high by Western standards justly because there are so many forms of Christianity to choose from. If someone disagrees with the Catholic dogma, they can go look on the Protestant side, where there are hundreds of denominations to choose from, adapted to all kinds of personalities. In Europe there is usually only one main type of Christianity in each country (except in the UK and the Netherlands), so that people either follow the mainstream or quit religion altogether. That is one of them most essential difference between Europeans and American attitudes to religion.



Ireland is indeed an interesting case in that regard. Ireland, Poland, and Portugal are all Roman Catholic countries, yet the rate of single motherhood in Ireland is 23% (coincidentally, about the same as in non-Catholic England) versus 11% for Poland and Portugal. Why? The last I remember reading about it young people in Ireland are not very observant any longer either.

How the availability of abortion factors into all of this is also interesting. Is abortion still illegal in Ireland? What about in Poland and Portugal? As a country formerly ruled by Communists I would think it used to be widely available in Poland. Regardless, the belief that abortion is a sin is universal in Roman Catholicism. If it's available in Poland and Portugal, and that's why the rates of single motherhood are lower, then obviously a general belief in God or even "technical" identification as a Roman Catholic doesn't mean that people follow church teachings about sexuality.

As I said, it's complicated.

By way of comparison, abortion in the U.S. is available all the way through to the end of term, meaning that even partial birth abortions can be performed (something which I find abhorrent, by the way), and yet we still have almost a quarter of our households headed by single mothers. Religion does play a role in that, but class factors are even more important, in my opinion. For all the discussion in the media here about single professional women choosing to have a child on their own, that's a small percentage of the single mother headed households. The majority are poor women, white and black, who got pregnant young and the man had no intention of marrying them, which is a recipe for disaster, or the children of divorced mothers, many of whom become poor, whatever their status originally.

Except for the Vatican and Malta, which ban abortion in all cases, Ireland is the only country in Europe (not just the EU) where abortion is illegal in most cases, even in case of rape, fetal defects, and/or socioeconomic factors. It is only allowed is the mother's life or health are in danger. Poland allows abortions in case of rape and fetal defects but not for socioeconomic factors (obviously since not long ago it was still a communist country where everyone had the same socioeconomic level). All other European countries, even in the Balkans have legal abortion on demand (or almost for the UK, Iceland and Finland).

In contrast, abortion is completely illegal in all cases (like in the Vatican) in 30 out of 50 US states (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States_by_state), and 3 states even have laws that regard abortion as criminal act like murder. Of the 20 states that allow abortion, 18 have restrictions like Ireland and only two (New York and Washington) have abortion on demand like in Europe and Canada, but also like in India, China, all the former USSR (including Muslim Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), and even Turkey and Bangladesh. So most of the USA is more backward in term of abortion laws than some poor Muslim countries like Bangladesh, where atheist bloggers are frequently murdered by the crowd!

Anti-abortion laws in the USA are one of the main reasons that the country suffers from much higher rates of poverty, teenage pregnancies, impoverished single mother households, and crime rates than the rest of the Western world. And the reason for that is only religion. Anti-abortionists are almost all radical Christians (or Muslims).


In white middle and upper class communities where the whole family goes to church on Sunday the girls in those families are usually on the pill (which is also against church teaching) so the issue doesn't arise all that frequently, but if it does the family usually arranges a quiet abortion and are then back in church on Sunday.

That's also a major difference with Europe. Here the higher one's social class is, the less religious people are (there are a some exceptions, notably among the nobility, which is Christian by tradition). Church goers are typically poorer Polish or Latin American immigrants. In the England church attendance (https://9marks.org/article/is-christianity-in-britain-in-terminal-decline/) is highest in the working class neighbourhoods of Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, and lowest in the wealthier counties of south-east England and west London. It is a very odd thing for Northern Europeans to see upper class Americans going to church on Sunday.

LeBrok
24-04-16, 18:31
This is wrong, at least if the definition of "religious" is something like the following. Also the beliefs about heaven or afterlife are very vague (not dogmatically consistent). Belief in God is high though.

In UK also most people believe in afterlife and heaven and large minorities believe in ghosts, reincarnation and fortune telling. That's not religiousness though.
It would be easier to call people believing in anything supernatural "spiritual" and phenomenon "spirituality", agnostic and religious people included. Term "religious" should be left to describe people belonging to organized religions. Spirituality is a natural human propensity (possibly having genetic base) to believe in supernatural phenomena. Religion is a social structure of well detailed beliefs, an organization of spiritual people, and is build on human spirituality.
Sometimes these easy definitions get screwed up. Especially in places lacking personal freedoms.
In places with strong political religions, everybody is forced to be a "believer" and a participant, even atheists. In such countries atheists are included among religious people in statistics.
I think, that among europeans, natural tendencies of atheism and spirituality goes at 20% to 80% respectively, with religiousness running at half of spiritual people. Well, very generally speaking, I must say.

Maleth
24-04-16, 18:38
these high-illegitimacy rates come along with low birth rates in Europe
children are a burden, they prevent the parents from moving around freely

That is only correct in younger age but most of the time most women seem to desire having children as they grow older. Even if its only one and many happy go lucky guys I used to know in my younger age who are now proud daddies, and being fathers changed their life. Low birth rates is due to having one or two children and not just by not having no children at all. Of course there are individuals who remain child less but its much more of the exception and not the rule. There are a number of couples who would do anything possible (including adopting) to have children if for some reason they will not be able to procreate naturally.

In older days Spinsters and Bachelors were also common but it was common for those who married to have 7/12 children.

LeBrok
24-04-16, 19:08
I guess I'm not as generous as you are, LeBrok. I made sacrifices in order to get an education and get my career going, and waited until my husband and I could provide for children before having them. I resent having to pay for other people's irresponsible choices, although since it's not the fault of the children I'm resigned to it. Same here, I'm a go getter, and all I have comes from hard work, planning and risk taking in investing. We also paid for most of our kids university education. We are in good position so we are paying more in taxes than many families bring home in income. I don't find it particularly equal and fair that I'm supporting not only my kids but also some families who never worked or paid to the system, instead they only take, take, take. On top of this, these people decide to have many kids, which we all have to support. (I'm an immigrant who becicleur don't believe exist, lol)The sad part is that kids from these families are not the brightest and ending up being supported like their parents. But what can we do, or should we do, or do we have rights to do?
I'm very torn on this issue. One part of me wants to see everyone responsible and self reliant, the other feels compassion for the less fortunate. With age, however, I'm moving more to the helping camp. It is not because I feel particularly more compassion for them, but there is more and more body of science, which points to the fact that giving these people more help and services for free, at the end cost less money to society and produces less crime.
- As Maciamo mentioned, choice of free abortion to poor mothers results in less crime in the future.
- Supply of free drugs or safe injection places, takes crime from streets, and costs less in health care bills.
- Free food and education should bring IQ level few percent higher in everyone. Supposedly not much in terms of smarts per person, but tens or hundreds of billions in extra GDP production in scale of a country.

My feelings aside, at the end of a day, it seems, that supplying things for free to the poor, makes them smarter, healthier, produces less crime, and financially benefits the country more that it costs. Well, it is like win-win scenario. How anyone could be against it? Well, as long as a country can afford this without going bankrupt, before seeing benefits of enlarged social programs.

Maleth
24-04-16, 19:33
Except for the Vatican and Malta, which ban abortion in all cases

Some abortions in certain circumstances do happen in Malta. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Malta besides that there is a lot of support for (all) those young mothers and maybe not so young who are encouraged not to abort their fetus. http://darguzeppadebono.org/en/. However it is a one sided and dictatorial issue in itself which is unfair (which of course I'm not in favour). I believe that for those who are adamant and feel no moral remorse to have their fetus aborted should be able to have the choice to do it locally and not have to get a 20 minute flight to Sicily. Having such laws will not stop those determent from doing it.

Unfortunatly because of its taboo nature, we would never have any factual statistics of how many abortions are performed over seas, but its certain that it happens. Anyhow in this kind of scenario it will make society more conscious of contraception use....and not only in regards to pregnancies but also to STD's that apparently have been on the rise these last years.

Angela
24-04-16, 19:37
That is only correct in younger age but most of the time most women seem to desire having children as they grow older. Even if its only one and many happy go lucky guys I used to know in my younger age who are now proud daddies, and being fathers changed their life. Low birth rates is due to having one or two children and not just by not having no children at all. Of course there are individuals who remain child less but its much more of the exception and not the rule. There are a number of couples who would do anything possible (including adopting) to have children if for some reason they will not be able to procreate naturally.

In older days Spinsters and Bachelors were also common but it was common for those who married to have 7/12 children.


I agree. In the peasant communities of my area only the oldest and/or most capable married and had children, because they were the only ones who inherited the land or the lease or the small business, but their families tended to be large. There were also always unmarried aunts and uncles who lived on the family farm or with married siblings and provided labor.

Within a few decades after the beginning of the twentieth century it all changed. You still had unmarried people, or people who married very late and so weren't going to be able to have a lot of children, but even among people who married in their twenties the norm was often one child. My parents were amazed to see such large families in the U.S. It wasn't that they didn't love their children, it's just that times were difficult economically and they didn't want them to lack anything.

Also, like you I know a lot of people who absolutely didn't want children when they were younger, partly because they needed to complete school and start a career, but also because they didn't want to be tied down. With the passage of time a lot of them changed, more often in the case of women than of men in my particular experience. We, after all, are under more pressure from the ticking of that biological clock. I can tell you that by my late twenties I was suffering from severe baby fever. You can't fight your hormones. :) My husband never did suffer from it, was rather neutral if not outright against it until he held that baby boy in his arms. He was an instant convert, so much so that he started making a lot of noise about the joys of a large family. That had to be shut down immediately. As I've said before the thought of raising more than three children in this day and age gives me hives! :)

That doesn't mean that I don't still get recurrent if less severe bouts of "baby fever". (It must be like malaria!) I just take two aspirin and wait for it to go away.

Angela
24-04-16, 21:16
I wonder whether the stats for children living in single-parents household include children whose divorced parents have shared custody, and spend one week at on parent's house, and the next week at the other parents, or weekdays with one parent and weekend with the other parent. This is very common here, but usually for teenage children, as it is very rare for parents to divorce when they have younger children. Some divorced parents might remarry or more commonly cohabit with a new partner. So children of divorced parents might still live at alternate times with each parent and occasionally have one or two step-parents as well. That wouldn't be much worse than living with both biological parents at the same time. It is very different from the case of a lower class teenage girl getting pregnant, refusing abortion of religious grounds, and having to raise the child on her own and never seeing the father ever again. The latter situation is unfortunately rather common among the American lower classes (especially Black Americans), but practically unheard of in Belgium.

Statistics really need to be more accurate to have any meaning. The situation of a 16 year old child from a well-off family whose parents just had an amicable
divorce with shared custody and who still maintain cordial relations and see each others every week without any bitterness toward one another, is completely different from the destitute teenage single mother who isn't even sure which potential father got her pregnant. Yet you can't see those vital differences in the statistics, as both would be listed as 'child in a single-parent household'.



Not really, since by definition anyone who choose not to follow the rules of a religion does not belong to that religion. In Belgium about 30% of the population believes in god but don't consider themselves Catholic because they don't agree with all the Catholic dogma anymore. These are considered 'spiritual but not religious' as they are theists who don't follow the rules of religion. Another 20% are agnostics and 7% are clear atheists.

In the USA religiosity remains extremely high by Western standards justly because there are so many forms of Christianity to choose from. If someone disagrees with the Catholic dogma, they can go look on the Protestant side, where there are hundreds of denominations to choose from, adapted to all kinds of personalities. In Europe there is usually only one main type of Christianity in each country (except in the UK and the Netherlands), so that people either follow the mainstream or quit religion altogether. That is one of them most essential difference between Europeans and American attitudes to religion.



Except for the Vatican and Malta, which ban abortion in all cases, Ireland is the only country in Europe (not just the EU) where abortion is illegal in most cases, even in case of rape, fetal defects, and/or socioeconomic factors. It is only allowed is the mother's life or health are in danger. Poland allows abortions in case of rape and fetal defects but not for socioeconomic factors (obviously since not long ago it was still a communist country where everyone had the same socioeconomic level). All other European countries, even in the Balkans have legal abortion on demand (or almost for the UK, Iceland and Finland).

In contrast, abortion is completely illegal in all cases (like in the Vatican) in 30 out of 50 US states (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States_by_state), and 3 states even have laws that regard abortion as criminal act like murder. Of the 20 states that allow abortion, 18 have restrictions like Ireland and only two (New York and Washington) have abortion on demand like in Europe and Canada, but also like in India, China, all the former USSR (including Muslim Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), and even Turkey and Bangladesh. So most of the USA is more backward in term of abortion laws than some poor Muslim countries like Bangladesh, where atheist bloggers are frequently murdered by the crowd!

Anti-abortion laws in the USA are one of the main reasons that the country suffers from much higher rates of poverty, teenage pregnancies, impoverished single mother households, and crime rates than the rest of the Western world. And the reason for that is only religion. Anti-abortionists are almost all radical Christians (or Muslims).



That's also a major difference with Europe. Here the higher one's social class is, the less religious people are (there are a some exceptions, notably among the nobility, which is Christian by tradition). Church goers are typically poorer Polish or Latin American immigrants. In the England church attendance (https://9marks.org/article/is-christianity-in-britain-in-terminal-decline/) is highest in the working class neighbourhoods of Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, and lowest in the wealthier counties of south-east England and west London. It is a very odd thing for Northern Europeans to see upper class Americans going to church on Sunday.

Abortion is now legal in all 50 states, and has been for more than forty years, as your own link points out if you will check it again. (It's indeed rather confusingly written.) That's because of the Roe v Wade decision of the Supreme Court of the United States which found a federally guaranteed right to it. That map with all the red colored states showing where it is illegal is pre-Roe v Wade. It's true that because we have a federal system the right may be limited in various ways depending on the state, but it cannot be outlawed.

Those limitations include things like it not being permitted except for rape and incest after the the fifth gestational month or after the child is viable, or requiring a 24 hour waiting period or counseling. Basically, unless you're going into your sixth month, if you want an abortion you can get one. The fact that some states won't pay for it isn't really an obstacle since Planned Parenthood, which receives federal subsidies, performs them for free or for a nominal fee.

The point is that a lot of these girls don't want one. Part of the reason that these girls don't get one is because of the way they interpret their religion, but part of it is that for some of these lower class girls they don't have any other future anyway. They'll go on welfare sooner or later, as their parents did before them, and this way they have something of a hold on the man and someone to love, as well.You have to have seen this social pathology and the harm that arises from it to understand it.
https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws

I agree that religious affiliation and expression are very different in the U.S. than in Europe, and not just because people can switch religions here. It's just a different way of looking at authority. Most people who are Catholics, at any rate, are what are called "cafeteria Catholics", which I alluded to before. That means they pick and choose the tenets that will affect their lives. If you're a Protestant you can choose to join a fundamentalist sect, or you can join a mainstream congregation where birth control, abortion, homosexuality are all permitted. The same goes for Judaism.

I live in the northeast, in a suburb of one of the most liberal cities in the U.S., and yet virtually all the children in this upscale community go to church on Sundays and go to religious instruction classes, most of them taught by their mothers, mothers who teach the tenets of the religion while not actually practicing some of them. The Protestant kids go on Sundays before or after the services, but the Catholic ones go one day a week, and the school even closes one period early to accommodate them. In the more Jewish areas, the children go much more frequently because they need to learn Hebrew before the Bat and Mas Mitzvah.

Yet, these Catholic mothers used birth control, they put their daughters on it, and, if it really comes down to it, some of them support their daughters in getting an early abortion rather than having them, as they see it, ruin their lives and the lives of the children because of a mistake. This applies to divorce too, and homosexuality, with many of these people still participating in the liturgy, sometimes with the active support of a priest ministering to them.

It also applies to things other than life issues. The Church is vehemently against the death penalty, for "social justice" or welfare programs to aid the poor, and has an active ministry for illegal aliens. Yet, Republican Roman Catholics sit patiently in church listening to sermons about these things and then go out and actively campaign politically against them.

It's just the way it is. Perhaps there's more comfort with paradox, or a recognition that you don't have to throw the baby out with the bath water, as they say here.

As to the effect of all of this on poverty and crime, both are already increasing in Europe with increased immigration from third world countries. When the percentage of these groups reaches 20-25%, as it does in the U.S., we'll see what the poverty and crime rates in Europe are then.

Maciamo
24-04-16, 22:55
Abortion is now legal in all 50 states, and has been for more than forty years, as your own link points out if you will check it again. (It's indeed rather confusingly written.) That's because of the Roe v Wade decision of the Supreme Court of the United States which found a federally guaranteed right to it. That map with all the red colored states showing where it is illegal is pre-Roe v Wade. It's true that because we have a federal system the right may be limited in various ways depending on the state, but it cannot be outlawed.
Oops. Sorry, my mistake. I hadn't quite grasped that Roe v Wade supersede all state laws.Then I wonder why abortion is still such a hotly debated issue in presidential campaigns, since it seems that the matter has been settled once and for all. Or does the president have the power to overrule a judicial decision? Probably not if there is a true separate of executive, legislative and judicial powers, as any democracy should have. Anyway if the president had that power, I would expect that G.W. Bush would have used it, being such a radical Christian.


Those limitations include things like it not being permitted except for rape and incest after the the fifth gestational month or after the child is viable, or requiring a 24 hour waiting period or counseling. Basically, unless you're going into your sixth month, if you want an abortion you can get one. The fact that some states won't pay for it isn't really an obstacle since Planned Parenthood, which receives federal subsidies, performs them for free or for a nominal fee.

So most states due have limitations on abortions like Ireland and Poland then. The situation with Europe is reversed. In Europe most countries have no limitation (except on the gestational month) and those that do are rare exceptions. In the US, most states have limitations, and those that don't are exceptions.




I agree that religious affiliation and expression are very different in the U.S. than in Europe, and not just because people can switch religions here. It's just a different way of looking at authority. Most people who are Catholics, at any rate, are what are called "cafeteria Catholics", which I alluded to before. That means they pick and choose the tenets that will affect their lives. If you're a Protestant you can choose to join a fundamentalist sect, or you can join a mainstream congregation where birth control, abortion, homosexuality are all permitted. The same goes for Judaism.

I live in the northeast, in a suburb of one of the most liberal cities in the U.S., and yet virtually all the children in this upscale community go to church on Sundays and go to religious instruction classes, most of them taught by their mothers, mothers who teach the tenets of the religion while not actually practicing some of them. The Protestant kids go on Sundays before or after the services, but the Catholic ones go one day a week, and the school even closes one period early to accommodate them. In the more Jewish areas, the children go much more frequently because they need to learn Hebrew before the Bat and Mas Mitzvah.

Yet, these Catholic mothers used birth control, they put their daughters on it, and, if it really comes down to it, some of them support their daughters in getting an early abortion rather than having them, as they see it, ruin their lives and the lives of the children because of a mistake. This applies to divorce too, and homosexuality, with many of these people still participating in the liturgy, sometimes with the active support of a priest ministering to them.

It also applies to things other than life issues. The Church is vehemently against the death penalty, for "social justice" or welfare programs to aid the poor, and has an active ministry for illegal aliens. Yet, Republican Roman Catholics sit patiently in church listening to sermons about these things and then go out and actively campaign politically against them.

It's just the way it is. Perhaps there's more comfort with paradox, or a recognition that you don't have to throw the baby out with the bath water, as they say here.

It all sounds very hypocritical. Why would anyone teach their children values that they don't even respect themselves?



As to the effect of all of this on poverty and crime, both are already increasing in Europe with increased immigration from third world countries. When the percentage of these groups reaches 20-25%, as it does in the U.S., we'll see what the poverty and crime rates in Europe are then.

So you are saying that immigration from African and Arabic countries to Europe will create an impoverished crime-ridden underclass like lower class Black Americans in the USA, with little prospect of improving their lot? That's what a lot of Europeans are afraid of, with the added concern of Jihad-inspired terrorism from the Muslims. In fact there has been such an underclass for longer in Europe than in the USA; namely the Gypsies, and their chances of adapting to European society don't seem better now than a few centuries ago, and are far worse than for African Americans.

Angela
25-04-16, 01:25
Maciamo;478994]Oops. Sorry, my mistake. I hadn't quite grasped that Roe v Wade supersede all state laws.Then I wonder why abortion is still such a hotly debated issue in presidential campaigns, since it seems that the matter has been settled once and for all. Or does the president have the power to overrule a judicial decision? Probably not if there is a true separate of executive, legislative and judicial powers, as any democracy should have. Anyway if the president had that power, I would expect that G.W. Bush would have used it, being such a radical Christian.

No, you're right, the President can't over-rule a decision of the Supreme Court. As to George Bush, even if he had the power I doubt he would have exercised it. For one thing, he would have had to deal with his wife. :) For another, he would never have been elected a second time, and it would have destroyed his party's chances for good. There used to be Democratic Pro-Life Politicians, but they've been virtually hounded out of the party. The Catholic Democratic politicians just say that it's the law of the land, and they don't want to impose their private religious beliefs on other Americans. The Republicans who are pro-life will occasionally lead with repealing Roe v Wade or at least imposing more limitations, but they don't get very far as Senator Santorum's fate showed. In this election cycle, Ted Cruz, who is a southern Baptist despite the fact he's of Cuban, Italian, and Irish ancestry, and a brilliant Yale graduate, is pro-life but he's not talking about it much, which is smart of him if he wants to even get the Republican nomination. I think many national Republican office holders and candidates would just prefer that the whole issue go way. It stays an issue in presidential campaigns largely, in my opinion, because it keeps getting brought up by Democrats in the hope that it will fire up their base. They're selling the fear that if Republicans get into power they'll try to make getting an abortion more and more difficult. The reality is that the vast majority of Americans don't want to go back to the time of back room abortions, so most Republicans don't really emphasize a ban. The stated goal of many is that abortions should be unnecessary or rare. What they also are against, as am I, is abortion on demand, which is basically the position of the Democrat Party, i.e. at any time, for any reason. I don't believe any society that allows partial birth abortion in the 7th, 8th or 9th month of gestation absent some horrific circumstance is worthy of calling itself a civilized country, but that's obviously only my opinion.



So most states due have limitations on abortions like Ireland and Poland then. The situation with Europe is reversed. In Europe most countries have no limitation (except on the gestational month) and those that do are rare exceptions. In the US, most states have limitations, and those that don't are exceptions.


Well, gestational age is the most important one. As I said, unless you're into your six month, if you want an abortion, you'll get one, although there may be a waiting period and you may have to listen to a list of alternatives. You also may have to travel a bit. Fewer and fewer doctors want to perform them.


It all sounds very hypocritical. Why would anyone teach their children values that they don't even respect themselves?


I can understand how you might see it that way, but I think the attitude among many people of my acquaintance who still attend services (there are some who don't, of course, even though they may have as children or earlier in their lives) is that these are "life style" rules which are not dogma, not in the way that the beliefs enunciated in the Credo are dogma. I think they're making a mistake where something like abortion is concerned, although I do think the other things don't reach that level and could change.

Also, I actually don't believe that children of 6-10 or 11 understand ambiguity yet. What you tell them is that stealing is wrong. You don't, or at least I, didn't get into discussions about all the situations where it might be ok, like how if some other country invades you then it may be ok in certain circumstances to steal to keep your family fed etc.. You also don't need to share with your eight year old, in my opinion, your angst about not knowing what you'd do if an ultrasound revealed that you were carrying a severely handicapped child. Sometimes even believing adults do things that they think are against God's laws, and I suppose they just hope God will understand and forgive. Also, I may have given the wrong impression. In many cases in the town where I have the most experience many of the instructors are priests or nuns or deacons. Of the mothers who have been trained to be instructors most are believers in all the rules. It's just that I know some had their private doubts, or just felt that the issues were too ambiguous for an elementary school child. Most importantly, the emphasis was on scripture and dogma and spirituality, not these kinds of issues.


So you are saying that immigration from African and Arabic countries to Europe will create an impoverished crime-ridden underclass like lower class Black Americans in the USA, with little prospect of improving their lot? That's what a lot of Europeans are afraid of, with the added concern of Jihad-inspired terrorism from the Muslims. In fact there has been such an underclass for longer in Europe than in the USA; namely the Gypsies, and their chances of adapting to European society don't seem better now than a few centuries ago, and are far worse than for African Americans.

I don't think it's so much the country from which the immigrants come as the class from which they come, and their educational level. You see the differences here in the U.S. between the legal immigrants from countries like India and indeed the Middle East, who are screened for their suitability, and the Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants, many of whom have absolutely no education or training at all. The outcomes are very different. There's also the fact that being on public assistance for decades itself breeds dependence. That's what has happened to a certain percentage of the African-American community. A good percentage has indeed moved or is moving into the working class and the middle class. Most of those are living in two parent working households. These are the parents who send their children to the city Catholic schools, no matter their actual religion, and even though they have to pay some tuition. That's why I'm such a big believer in giving parents like this vouchers to help them out financially, no matter how the public school teachers squawk. The Catholic schools get better results, and these parents know it. The ones who are left in the decaying ghettos are mired in an alternate lifestyle which is very toxic, and in that toxic lifestyle the vast majority of the children are living in single mother headed households.

Anyway, that's one person's opinion. I don't pretend to speak for all Americans or no longer practicing Catholics.

Maciamo
25-04-16, 08:25
What they also are against, as am I, is abortion on demand, which is basically the position of the Democrat Party, i.e. at any time, for any reason. I don't believe any society that allows partial birth abortion in the 7th, 8th or 9th month of gestation absent some horrific circumstance is worthy of calling itself a civilized country, but that's obviously only my opinion.

Abortion on demand is for any reason, but not any time. There isn't a single European country that allows abortion after 6 months. The latest is the Netherlands, which allows it on demand until 21 weeks and until 24th weeks in case of medical emergency/threat to the mother's life. The second highest is Sweden (until 18 weeks), but all other European countries have a limit of 12 to 14 weeks (Italy is 13 weeks, by the way, later than Belgium of France).

According to this article (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/aug/22/carly-fiorina/only-four-countries-legalize-abortion-after-5-mont/), the USA is one of only six countries in the world, along with Canada, China, North Korea, Singapore and the Netherlands to allow abortions after the 5th gestational month. From what I gather, the limit in the US is viability, which is set at 24 weeks max., so like the Netherlands. That means that abortion laws are much less strict in regard to the time in the US than the are in Europe (except Netherlands), but that the limitations on the reasons for abortion are generally stricter in US states.

I am strongly pro-abortion, but until 3 months on demand because if a woman has an undesired or accidental pregnancy, she will want to abort as soon as possible. In case of rape, a pregnancy test can be done in the next few days, and the use of the "day-after pill" can actually prevent pregnancy in many cases.

Fire Haired14
25-04-16, 21:28
Non-religious people can choose to get marry or cohabit. That's a purely legal decision. They can choose to have a wedding party or not, in a church or completely secular. All possibilities are open.

All are possible for religious people to. Having wedding in a church isn't anymore restrictive, it's just a differnt place to get married. For obvious reasons, marriage is very connected to God. Any important part of someone's life is. Having religious celebration and symbolism in marriage, is a celebration not restriction.

I've always been confused by the legalism in marriage. What's with all the paper work? I guess it has economic reasons. Cohabiting is marriage. Plain and simple. It's marriage without all the paper work. The reason Christians are against cohabiting, is because of fear it's not really marriage. That the couple isn't monogamous. If it is two people deciding to live together, it's the same as marriage and there's no reason to be against it as a Christian.


But religious people will always get married (and hold a religious ceremony) if they plan to live together and have children because that is what religion dictates in such circumstances.

How is getting married and having children any differnt from cohabiting and having children? It isn't any differnt.



Religious people do not enjoy the same freedom as non-religious people. They are bound by their religious beliefs and rules, even if they disagree with them. That's the definition of religion. You can't pick and choose what you like, otherwise you have your own beliefs and aren't considered religious anymore.

All beliefs restrict people. Religion is one type of belief. So, being religious doesn't make anyone more restrictive on themselves than if they weren't religious. It depends on the belifs, whether they're religious or not. Someone who is non-religious can be more restrictive because of their beliefs than someone who is religious.

If a woman not making herself a sperm bank, not shouting obscenities, a man not acting like a 6 year old girl, is restrictive that's your opinion. In other people's opinion that's restricting yourself from being crazy. The idea behind morality isn't, "I don't like that and like making rules so others can't do it". The idea is "That is harmful and inappropriate. I want people to life a good and pure life. ". You being against consensual child-adult sex, animal sex, transagism, etc. isn't any differnt. One could argue, society is conforming/restricting adults to be responsible and act a certain way incase they want to be shamed, while you'll call those people idiots. It's the same with conservatives calling transgender-ism idiotic. The only difference is you have differnt restrictions.


I think you did not read my post properly anyway, as I was explaining that marriage is irrelevant to the issue of single parents in Europe as many people cohabit without being married.

My opinion is that cohabitating will more likely lead to single mothers.

Tomenable
25-04-16, 22:33
Apparently, the rate of births to unmarried women is increasing in western Europe.

See: 7685

Is that something that should be concerning?

Former GDR vs. West Germany, LOL! :nuts:

Maciamo
26-04-16, 08:08
All are possible for religious people to. Having wedding in a church isn't anymore restrictive, it's just a differnt place to get married. For obvious reasons, marriage is very connected to God. Any important part of someone's life is. Having religious celebration and symbolism in marriage, is a celebration not restriction.

I completely disagree. One of the meaning of being religious is to follow the official sacraments of religion, and marriage is one of the most important of them. Since marriage is a legal act (at the town hall), only the wedding in a church is the valid religious sacrament in a Christian's eyes. Never in the Bible doe sit say, "fill out the form with your personal details and sign here".



I've always been confused by the legalism in marriage. What's with all the paper work? I guess it has economic reasons. Cohabiting is marriage. Plain and simple. It's marriage without all the paper work. The reason Christians are against cohabiting, is because of fear it's not really marriage. That the couple isn't monogamous. If it is two people deciding to live together, it's the same as marriage and there's no reason to be against it as a Christian.

How is getting married and having children any differnt from cohabiting and having children? It isn't any differnt.


Cohabitation (aka registered partnership) has the same amount of paperwork as marriage (in Europe at least) as it is a legal status of its own, which confers the partners advantages such as being able to open a joint bank account or benefiting from tax rebates. Cohabitation without official paperwork is not recognised here. Yet marriage and cohabitation are different from a legal point of view. Here are some of the differences (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/relationships/living-together-marriage-and-civil-partnership/living-together-and-marriage-legal-differences/) in the UK.



All beliefs restrict people. Religion is one type of belief. So, being religious doesn't make anyone more restrictive on themselves than if they weren't religious. It depends on the belifs, whether they're religious or not. Someone who is non-religious can be more restrictive because of their beliefs than someone who is religious.

You can believe anything you want in a free country, but if you believe in something quite different from a particular religion, then you don't belong to that religion. For instance all Jews and all Christians believe in the Old Testament. What distinguishes them is that Christians also believe in the New Testament. Differences between Christian denominations depend on the interpretation of the scriptures and the number of sacraments they follow. Muslims believe in a very similar monotheistic god as the Jews and Christians, but with a slightly different moral code. If you believe in god and make a moral code of your own, you are not a Christian, nor a Jew, nor a Muslim, but an independent monotheist. If you believe that that god exists but doesn't really care about humans, you are a deist. If you believe that god is within everyone of us and in all things in nature, you are a pantheist. And so on. But you simply CANNOT say that you are a Christian and not follow rules, morals or sacraments of your branch of Christianity. Well, you are free to do it, but you stop being n Christian by definition. You can call yourself an orange or a saucepan, but that doesn't make you one. There are minimum requirements as to what constitutes a Christian. That's why about a third of Northern Europeans believe in a spiritual force or even in a god, but without seeing themselves as Christian. Another third are agnostics or atheists.



My opinion is that cohabitating will more likely lead to single mothers.

It's not a matter of opinion. Statistics (in Belgium at least) show that cohabiting couples are less likely to separate. But the reason might be that Belgians who get divorced rarely remarry (unlike in the US) and prefer to cohabit with their next partner. Since the age of first marriage is around 30 and people rarely divorce before their kids are at least 16, most people only start cohabiting with their next life partner from around 50 years old, so that may be why they are less likely to split.

Maciamo
26-04-16, 10:09
Ireland is indeed an interesting case in that regard. Ireland, Poland, and Portugal are all Roman Catholic countries, yet the rate of single motherhood in Ireland is 23% (coincidentally, about the same as in non-Catholic England) versus 11% for Poland and Portugal.

Actually, 20% of Christians in Britain are Catholic, and 40% are Anglican, which is almost exactly the same thing, except that the Queen replaces the Pope as the head of the Church. Anglicanism is best viewed as an independent regional form of Catholicism (just like the Episcopal Church is the American version of the Anglican Church). Modern Britain is now predominantly unaffiliated/non-religious (50% in 2015), but the Christian population is therefore essentially Catholic like in Ireland, Poland, Belgium, Italy, etc.

Angela
29-04-16, 16:42
Another interesting stat on religion in the U.S. by denomination that looks at "retention rate".

7699

LeBrok
29-04-16, 22:15
Another interesting stat on religion in the U.S. by denomination that looks at "retention rate".

7699

Interesting. I thought that retention is much higher above 90% in most religions. I'm surprised that Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons retention is so low.


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Angela
29-04-16, 22:39
Interesting. I thought that retention is much higher above 90% in most religions. I'm surprised that Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons retention is so low.


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It's interesting to look at what they do when they leave their birth religion.

Half of Catholics who leave the Church join another religion. Only 20% become unaffiliated.

A certain number of people who leave mainline Protestant churches join more conservative religions.

Jews, Muslims, and Hindus who leave their faith usually go unaffiliated.

That would correlate with what I've observed.

Jehovah's Witnesses also go unaffiliated.