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Concrete Theory Recommends Less Kids December 5, 2009

Posted by mgodoublems in Thoughts.
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I discovered this incredible website the other day called Gapminder.  It’s a charting website that develops multi-variable plots based on demographic information.  While looking through it, I discovered this:

On the x-axis is Life expectancy at birth (years).  On the y-axis is # of children per household, distributed logarithmically.  The circle size corresponds to population.  Colors correspond to geographic region.  Even more interesting is when you go to the website for the graph and click Play at the bottom.  More technologically advanced societies had almost direct correlation between their decrease in birth rate and their increase in life expectancy.  Some dramatic jumps can be seen, which correlate to massive events.  For example, Russia’s life expectancy decreases to 12 years of age in 1933, which correlates to a massive famine that occurred from 1932-1933.

Now, I know that correlation does not, in fact, prove causation, but I wish there was a way to overlay religious practices onto the graph, instead of population.  It would be interesting to see, because there are certain religious groups (Catholics, Hasidic Jews, the Amish, Apostolic Lutherans) that wind up having a lot of kids, and I wonder if there is a diminished life expectancy involved due to the additional stresses that certain religions that require ceremony and adherence put on the psyche?