Family together pic

Americans’ general preference for smaller families, which has been the norm for the past 50 years, is shifting as their view of the ideal number of children in a family has crept up to the highest level in 50 years, according to a new Gallup poll. Still, the U.S. birth rate remains low compared with the 1970s, suggesting that personal preferences may not fit actual lived experience.

Gallup found that Americans’ belief that the ideal family size includes three or more children has been rising steadily in recent years, and is up four percentage points from the previous reading in 2018 to its highest point since 1971.

While most adults under 30 have not had any children, the total percentage of young adults who have had children or desire to someday is equal to or nearly as high as adults in older age groups who say the same. Young adults are also more likely than older Americans to say having three or more children is the ideal.

“Thus, the greater risk of the U.S. population shrinking due to a declining birth rate may stem from young adults waiting much longer than prior generations to start having children rather than from a decreased desire to have children altogether,” Gallup observed.

Americans are now evenly divided when it comes to preferring smaller versus larger families. When asked about the ideal number of children for a family, a 44% plurality of U.S. adults think having two is best and 3% say one child is ideal.

At the same time, 45% of Americans prefer bigger families, including 29% who say having three kids is ideal, 12% who think four is best, and 2% each who prefer having five or six or more children.

Just 2% think the ideal family is childless.

These findings, from Gallup polling conducted this past June and July.

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U.S. desire for big families trending upward, despite waiting longer to have kids

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Jen says:

    All those abortions and waiting too long for marriage and children had made people rethink what really matters more than careers, education, and money.

  • Lucinda says:

    There is no significant social or environmental problem that can’t be reduced by a reduction in global population. And to the kneejerks, it doesn’t mean killing any of us. It means having no children or no more than two children. I would not want government influence except to stop rewarding having a big brood.

    • Chuck Anziulewicz says:

      Zero Population Growth (ZPG) would be a good thing. As you say, this doesn’t mean killing people or prohibiting people from having larger families. But incentivising people to have no more than two children would be a worthwhile effort. In my lifetime alone the human population has gone from three billion to eight billion, and it could reach nine billion by the time I die. These are people that have to be fed, clothed, housed, employed, transported, and had their medical and sanitary needs met. This all requires energy, yet we cling wistfully to fossil fuels by simple virtue that they’re cheap, so we continue to pump carbon in the sky. The environmental consequences are becoming all too obvious.

    • Daddio says:

      The overpopulation myth has been debunked for quite some time. Malthusian thinking led to Eugenics, genocide, and the new environmentalist religion. Even the leftist UN realizes that every country save a couple in Africa are far below their replacement rate. This is a recipe for economic, social, and environmental destruction. The Ponzi schemes of social security, medicare, and bureaucratic leeches will all fall first. Save the planet! Have a lot of kids and do not send them to be indoctrinated in government schools (re-education camps).

      • Chuck Anziulewicz says:

        I understand you well, Daddio. Your own personal comfort, convenience, and “prosperity” are more important to you than environmental sustainability. But don’t pretend you give a damn about the world your grandkids and great-grandkids inherit, because you clearly don’t.

      • Daddio says:

        Wrong again Chuck,
        Poverty is the biggest destroyer of the environment. The “environmental sustainability” propaganda is pushed for the elevation of leftist “green policy” power and unsustainable energy company profits. So don’t pretend you give a damn about the environment Chuck, because you clearly don’t.

      • Flaxseed says:

        It may be interesting -and pitiable- to find out what the Lucindas and Chucks of the world think when they are being cared for by someone else’s children, in a nursing home because they have no children to care for them at home, as they approach the end of their earthly lives.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Big families are a blessing from our Heavenly Father who is the Creator of All Creation. I look forward to seeing big families again.

    • Jen says:

      Yes. We are a gift from God. We as Christians must remember this during our heart examinations to remember when we meet each annoying person is a gift of God knitted in their mother’s womb for a purpose (psalm 139:13-14) and grandchildren are a crown of the age and the glory of their fathers (and mothers) (proverbs 17:6)

  • Jen says:

    It’s okay to be single. If one lives their single and childless life correctly, that single woman as well as a man can be just as productive in life as a single parent or married couple with kids. Both peoples are used by God for moving his kingdom and often single Christians find they have more time to serve the Churches, missions, and families who needing extra help. Here Paul said “Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.“ 1 Corinthians 6:7. The whole chapter six Paul the apostle writes on single and marriage.

  • Steve P Peterson says:

    Ah, the Chuck and Lucinda troll show…

  • jon says:

    It is good that the population growth is slowed. There are far too many people on the planet.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      There are far too many trolls, paid schills and minions on this planet. We need more humanity-loving people on team humanity!

  • Lucinda says:

    Think of any problem in your community and ten bucks says it would be reduced or eliminated if there were fewer people involved.

    • Jen says:

      That’s how in Nazi-Germany, Stalin’s Russia, thought if they could get rid of the undesirables they’d fix their country’s present day problems. They made their nations worse off eliminating people as well poorer and they reduced their nation’s inventors, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, military commanders, professors, a whole host of thinkers whose talents contribute to the bettering of s nation. Painter Ron Dicianni who was supposed to be aborted but his mother couldn’t and today because of his upbringing he found his talent is an Extraordinary painter, he questioned “has the world killed by abortion the baby who will had grew up to cure cancer so if we get cancer we don’t have to go through abrasive treatments and abrasive surgeries for its removal? It’s possible. and we are waiting longer until someone finds the cure to cancer.

      • Lucinda says:

        Jen, I mentioned elsewhere that I have no interest in”getting rid of undesirables”, or causing premature death. Your comparison to Nazi and Russia is not relevant. This is my premise: there is no significant social or environmental problem that can’t be reduced by a reduction in global population. We need to have fewer babys. It is that simple.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I think of the problem of trolls, paid schills and minions that we have. Even if there were fewer people, you guys would still be out in droves like good little puppets doing your masters’ will.