News & CommentDemographics

Do We Want More Kids, or Fewer, Richer Kids?

Science  28 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5304, pp. 1258-1260
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5304.1258d

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SEATTLE—At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science here, behavioral ecologist Monique Borgerhoff Mulder of the University of California, Davis, presented new data suggesting a key to the evolutionary puzzle of why, as societies get richer, individuals have fewer children, rather than trying to pass on their genes by having more. The answer: They are more successful at passing on their genes if they maximize not their total number of children but the amount of resources, or wealth, they pass along to each child.

See last week's issue (Science, 21 February,p.1061) for coverage of early sessions on global R&D funding and submarine vents.