Natalism (also called pronatalism or the pro-birth position) is a belief that promotes human reproduction. The term is taken from the Latin adjective form for "birth", natalis. Natalism promotes child-bearing and glorifies parenthood. It typically advocates policies such as limiting access to abortion and contraception, as well as creating financial and social incentives for the population to reproduce.[citation needed]



The degree of natalism is individual; the extreme end is "Natalism" as a life stance (with capitalized first letter by life stance orthography), which holds natalism as of ultimate importance and everything else is only good to the extent it serves this purpose. The more moderate stance holds that there ought to be a higher rate of population growth than what is currently mainstream in industrialized countries.[citation needed] Philosophic motivations for natalism may include that of considering value in bringing potential future persons into existence.

In religion

Many religions, including Islam, Judaism[1] and some forms of Christianity, such as Roman Catholicism[2] with its sacrament of marriage,[3][4] encourage procreation.

The Amish are among the fastest-growing populations in the world, with an average of 6.8 children per family.[5]

A recent movement among conservative Protestants, known as the Quiverfull movement, advocates for large families.

Natalistic politics

Nativity in the Western world dropped during the interwar period. Swedish sociologists Alva Myrdal and Gunnar Myrdal published Crisis in the Population Question in 1934, suggesting an extensive welfare state with free healthcare and childcare, to level the number of children at a reproductive level for all social classes. Swedish fertility rose throughout World War II (as Sweden was largely unharmed by the war) and peaked in 1946.

Today, Sweden has generous family politics, as well as a growing population.[citation needed]

Many countries with population decline offer incentives to the people to have large families as a means of national efforts to reverse declining populations. Some nations such as Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have implemented, or tried to implement, interventionist natalist policies, creating incentives for larger families among "native stock."[citation needed] Immigrants are generally not part of natalist policies.

Another government which has openly advocated natalism is the Islamic Republic of Iran, following a tremendous loss of their population to the Iran–Iraq War. The government encouraged married couples to produce as many children as possible to replace population lost to the war. As a result of this natalist attitude, Iran has experienced a youth bulge, with approximately 75% of its population under the age of 30 as of 2007.[citation needed]

Ceauşescu's Communist Romania severely repressed abortion (the most common birth control method at the time) in 1966[6] and forced gynecological revisions and penalizations for unmarried women and childless couples. The birthrate surge taxed the public services received by the decreţei ("Scions of the decree [770]") generation. The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was followed by a fall in population growth.

According to Tibetologist Melvyn Goldstein, natalist feelings run high in China's Tibet region, among both ordinary people and government officials. Seeing population control "as a matter of power and ethnic survival" rather than in terms of ecological sustainability, Tibetans have successfully argued for an exemption of their ethnicity from usual Chinese family planning policies, such as the one-child policy.[7] Natalist literature among the Tibetan exile community discourages sex with foreigners, however it is not particularly successful.[8]

In a 2004 New York Times editorial, David Brooks[9] expressed the opinion that the relatively high birthrate of the United States in comparison to Europe could be attributed to social groups with "natalist" attitudes. The article is referred to in an analysis of the Quiverfull movement.[10] However, the figures identified for the demographic are extremely low.

Paid maternity and paternity leave policies can also be used as an incentive. For example, Sweden has generous parental leave where parents are entitled to share 16 months paid leave per child, the cost divided between both employer and State.

Some countries offer a one off financial payment to encourage couples to bear more children.


Official anti or pro-natalist policies can be oppressive of reproductive rights, depending on how they are structured and enforced.

Antinatalism may also be included in concern of overpopulation and its effects, e.g. as a mitigation of global warming and societal or moral decline.

Egoistic natalism

Although generally it refers to humanity as a whole, one variant of natalism promotes self-reproduction, even if it may inhibit other people's reproduction. For instance, some men have used their own sperm to artificially inseminate women, without their consent,[11] and egoistic natalism may have been the motive.

However, natalism generally refers to the reproduction of the large-scale population.

See also


  1. ^ Twerski, Rebbetzin Feige. "Joys of A Large Family". Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  2. ^ Pope Paul VI (1968-07-25). "Humanae Vitae: Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Regulation of Birth". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  3. ^ Pope Pius XI (1930-12-31). "Casti Connubii: Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  4. ^ Pope John Paul II (1981-11-22). "Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio: On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World". Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  5. ^ Julia A. Ericksen; Eugene P. Ericksen, John A. Hostetler, Gertrude E. Huntington (July 1979). "Fertility Patterns and Trends among the Old Order Amish". Population Studies (33): 255–76. ISSN 0032-4728. OCLC 39648293. 
  6. ^ (Romanian) Scarlat, Sandra. "'Decreţeii': produsele unei epoci care a îmbolnăvit România" ("'Scions of the Decree': Products of an Era that Sickened Romania"), Evenimentul Zilei, May 17, 2005; Gail Kligman: The Politics of Duplicity. Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu's Romania. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press 1998 [1]
  7. ^ Goldstein, Melvyn; Cynthia, Beall (March 1991). "China's Birth Control Policy in the Tibet Autonomous Region". Asian Survey 31 (3): 285–303. doi:10.1525/as.1991.31.3.00p0043x. 
  8. ^ Reproducing Identity: Using Images to Promote Pronatalism and Sexual Endogamy among Tibetan Exiles in South Asia by Gareth Barkin & Geoff Childs. Visual Anthropology. 2006-03-30. doi:10.1525/var.2006.22.2.34. 
  9. ^ "The New Red-Diaper Babies" - David Brooks, New York Times accessed 21 Jan 06
  10. ^ The Nation accessed 21 Jan 06
  11. ^ Nelson, Rick. The Babymaker: Fertility Fraud and the Fall of Doctor Cecil Jacobson, 1993. ISBN 0-553-56162-6

External links

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