Originally Posted by snapcrackle
I have noticed that back in the days women had lots of children but now people have a child every few years, my friend said that was because of western influence.
The number of children is heavily influenced by many reasons, a declining fertility rate is a sign for a more advanced, progressed society-not a sign of "Western influence"!
If you look back in time, you will notice that in Europe or the US people also used to have a lot of children, most people relied heavily on their family (especially their own children) when they were old or sick. Children financially supported their parents and cared for them when they got old and sick. Now with rapid changes in our society, a state-financed social system, pensions, free health care etc. children are no longer needed for "social security" reasons. (In royal families the high number of births was necessary to secure the dinasty and make sure that one of the heirs is living long enough to inherit the throne. Most children died within the first year(s) of their live and did not reach puberty.1)) Another important reason for the decline in births is the advancement in medicine and technology which reduced the child mortality rate and introduced better instruments for family planning. Furthermore it is important to notice the influence of education of women,in most countries the number of births is declining when women have access to higher education which gives them a chance to acchieve something in life. Before women were allowed to receive education and enter the employment market, the only career choices for the majority of women were "mother" or "housewife".
1)This essay highlights some of the health problems and reasons for the high child mortality rate between 16th-18th century: Children and Youth in History | Health in England (16th?18th c.)
Lynda Payne, "Health in England (16th–18th c.)" in Children and Youth in History