As the numbers of singles and childless grow, our immediate political future could shift to the left. In Britain, Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrats are losing younger, largely childless voters. But the Greens have almost tripled their support since 2014, which is now almost now equaling the Tories among voters 18 to 24. Nor does family orientation seem a factor in European politics; today many of the leaders, virtually all the leaders of the continent (Germany, France, Netherlands) are childless. France’s President Emmanuel Macron even identified child-bearing with ignorance.
Yet, in the long run, the anti-natalists could face an unexpected turnaround. The heirs of the post-familial city are not reproducing themselves, leaving only a digital legacy. The fact that these centers appear to be “post-Christian” may accelerate the pace. Secularism, with its tendency towards identity politics and hyper-individualism, notes author Eric Kaufmann, undermines itself as it fails to “inspire the commitment to generations past and sacrifices for those yet to come.”
In contrast, the more religious, more family-oriented population, living mostly in the suburbs and smaller cities, will reproduce themselves. Kaufmann explains in his important book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? that those who embrace more traditional religions—which generally favor families—will prevail. The future of Catholicism won’t be shaped by a Pope, whose closest advice comes from liberal bishops in Germany, where the church is now losing nearly 170,000 adherents annually. The new faithful will be those nurtured by the more traditionalist African bishops, who enjoy the fastest church growth.