300 Million People in America & Smaller Families

There are now 300 million people in america. Is that a big deal? More interesting than this stat, or the ambiguity over whether the 300,000,000th american was a newborn child or an immigrant, is the this stat from the article (emphasis added by me):

“The average US family had 4.5 people in 1915, 3.3 in 1967 and 2.6 in 2006

What are families so much smaller? Is it because more of us live in urban areas, which generally have smaller living spaces?

Seattle Metropolitan Magazine has an article about how to “be green,” or live a more environmentally-friendly, environmentally-conscious lifestyle. One of the things they said was that people should have fewer children. Their reasoning is that more kids could grow up to be environmentally-irresponsible consumers. Is that a legitimate concern?

One Love. One II.




About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

5 responses to “300 Million People in America & Smaller Families”

  1. t-hype says :

    All I can say is WTH? to a 2.6 person family. There’s not a very big margin for decrease there…

  2. Garlin II says :

    I agree wholeheartedly t. They are basically telling people not to have children. The extreme interpretation states that if you don’t have any children, you will do less damage to the environment in the long run because after you there will be no more environmentally-irresponsible consumers. This view is plain retarded.

  3. Dumi says :

    “Plain retarded” way to state it so eloquently Garlin! I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the “reduce family size” argument, but I do think it is important we consider the environment that we habitually abuse. Most adults are not enviromentally responsible, so I can see their children also not developing sustainable habits. Additionally, the size of the family, I assume (being too lazy to click the article), is related to shifts in marriage and child-bearing. With fewer 2 parent homes, it is only natural that we would have a population boom and a reduction in family size. While “the Right” may use this as fodder to back some Malthusian perspective on closing the borders, marriage, and “sexual responsiblity.” I tend to think it’s important to ask up what our contemporary family structure and social structure means for future generations of not only Americans but globally. Oh, and my personal policy is that folks need to be adopting some kids, we got enough folks!

  4. ellen says :

    another reason to seriously consider downsizing the family is the cost of raising children. children are expensive and a lot of people simply cannot afford to raise more than one or two children.

  5. Garlin II says :

    Dumi, thank you for the pat on the back. Sometimes, simplicity is elegance and elegance is simplicity. More substantively, it’s funny that you mention less married/two-parent households, since we have something up on that too. I would love to read some comments there about all of the implications of that as well. The responsibility has to start somewhere, so why not with people like me who have no children yet to whom I can pass environmentally-irresponsible habits. Maybe the already-irresponsible adults are ‘sunk costs,’ but we have got to start somewhere. Personally, I’m starting with looking at a car instead of an SUV for my next automobile (for those who don’t know, that’s a sacrifice for someone of my size). Finally, I didn’t think lazy and Dumi existed in the same universe!?!?

    Ellen, I agree with you that children are expensive. This is linked to high energy prices, high food prices, high prices for medical care, and other overly-expensive things. If we can do things to address those issues, perhaps it will be less expensive to have children. How can we as individuals begin to make headway in these areas? For energy prices, try reducing energy consumption (e.g. long a$s showers, driving solo (a bad habit of mine), keeping your house/condo/apartment’s heat on blast even when no one is home, etc.). For food prices, try buying locally grown foods. For medical expenses, try a healthier diet of more fresh foods (for non-cookers like me, this is a hell of an experience, but it’s worth it).

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