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Date and Location

November 15, 2023
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM ET
B-102: M-rcbg Conference Room


Pets Instead of Kids? The Impact of the Baby Bust on Industrialised Societies Photo

​For the human race, having children has historically been a duty and a biological imperative, with family at the heart of every culture. But now, demographic changes are having significant effects on how we live, in the three quarters of the globe where fertility rates have fallen to below replacement level. In Europe, almost half of all children are growing up without siblings.  In China, primary schools and kindergartens are closing. In America, more households now contain pets than kids.
 Over the past century, the majority of households in Britain and America have been headed by a married couple, and the majority of children under 5 have been looked after by a mother staying at home. But now we are seeing the end of the “nuclear family” and the rise of new kinds of support structures: including ‘chosen’ families pioneered by LGBTQ communities, platonic parents, and non-biological friendship groups.   How might the psychology of nations be affected by aging, shrinking, and increasing racial diversity from immigration? What can historical downturns in population, caused by plagues and wars, teach us about how our societies may react to the baby bust? And how should governments balance the rights of a dwindling number of parents, against those of the childfree? 
Join us to look at recent analysis of these powerful forces affecting the social fabric, and to debate possible policy solutions.

This study group / discussion is open to all. Registration is not necessary.
M-RCBG welcomes individuals with disabilities to participate in its programs. To request accommodations or ask questions about access provided, please email:

Speakers and Presenters

​Camilla Cavendish
M-RCBG Research Fellow
Financial Times columnist, former senior advisor to UK Prime Minister Cameron
and author of "Extra Time: Ten Lessons For An Aging World"