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Natalism or pro-birth is a belief that promotes human reproduction. The term is taken from the Latin adjective form for "birth," natalis.

Pronatalism or simply natalism is an ideology promoting child-bearing and glorifying parenthood, which may include limited access to abortion and contraception, as well as financial and social incentives for the population, to reproduce.


The degree of natalism is individual; the extreme end is Natalism as a life stance (with capitalized first letter by life stance orthography), which holds natalism as of ultimate importance and everything else is only good to the extent it serves this purpose. The more moderate stance holds that there ought to be a higher rate of population growth than what is currently mainstream in industrialized countries.

Natalistic policies range from mildly to severely anti-birth control, depending on how strictly they are structured and enforced.

In religion

Many religions, including Islam, Judaism and some forms of Christianity, such as Roman Catholicism with its sacrament of marriage, encourage procreation.

The Amish are among the fastest-growing populations in the world, with an average of 6.8 children per family.

A recent movement among conservative Protestants, known as the Quiverfull movement advocates for large families.

Natalistic politics

Many countries with population decline offer incentives to the people to have large families as a means of national efforts to reverse declining populations. Some nations such as Japanmarker and Thailandmarker have implemented, or tried to implement, interventionist natalist policies, creating incentives for larger families among "native stock." Immigrants are generally not part of natalist policies.

Another government which has openly advocated natalism is the Islamic Republic of Iranmarker, following a tremendous loss of their population to the Iran–Iraq War. The government encouraged married couples to produce as many children as possible to replace population lost to the war. As a result of this natalist attitude, Iran has experienced a youth bulge, with approximately 75% of its population under the age of 30 as of 2007.

Ceauşescu's Communist Romania severely repressed abortion (the most common birth control method at the time) in 1966 and forced gynecological revisions and penalizations for unmarried women and childless couples.The birthrate surge taxed the public services received by the decreţei ("Scions of the decree [770]") generation.The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was followed by a fall in population growth.

In a 2004 New York Times editorial David Brooks expressed the opinion that the relatively high birthrate of the United States in comparison to Europe could be attributed to social groups with "natalist" attitudes. The article is referred to in an analysis of the Quiverfull movement. However, the figures identified for the demographic are extremely low.

Paid maternity and paternity leave policies can also be used as an incentive. For example, Sweden has generous parental leave where parents are entitled to share 16 months paid leave per child, the cost divided between both employer and State.

Some countries offer a one off financial payment to encourage couples to bear more children.


Official anti or pro-natalist policies can be oppressive of reproductive rights, depending on how they are structured and enforced.

Antinatalism may also be included in concern of overpopulation and its effects, e.g. as a mitigation of global warming.

Egoistic natalism

Although generally referring to the humanity as a whole, there is a subclass of natalism holding that it is the self-reproduction that matters, even if the procedures may inhibit other people's reproduction. It has for instance been the case that men have used their own sperm to artificially inseminate women, without their consent, and egoistic natalism may have been the motive.

However, natalism generally refers to the reproduction of the large-scale population.

See also


  1. Kligman, Gail. 1998. The Politics of Duplicity. Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu's Romania. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  2. Scarlat, Sandra. "'Decreţeii': produsele unei epoci care a îmbolnăvit România" ("'Scions of the Decree': Products of an Era that Sickened Romania"), Evenimentul Zilei, May 17, 2005; Gail Kligman: The Politics of Duplicity. Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu's Romania. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press 1998[1]
  3. "The New Red-Diaper Babies" - David Brooks, New York Times accessed 21 Jan 06
  4. The Nation accessed 21 Jan 06
  5. Babymaker: Fertility, Fraud and the Fall of Doctor Cecil Jacobson (1993) ISBN 0-553-56162-6

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