Evolutionary Biology Explains Why Poor People Have Lots of Kids at a Young Age

Why do poor people often have many kids, even though having a lot of children surely makes their tough lives even harder? Don't blame them - blame evolutionary biology:

There is no reason to view the poor as stupid or in any way different from anyone else, says Daniel Nettle of the University of Newcastle in the UK. All of us are simply human beings, making the best of the hand life has dealt us. If we understand this, it won't just change the way we view the lives of the poorest in society, it will also show how misguided many current efforts to tackle society's problems are - and it will suggest better solutions.

Evolutionary theory predicts that if you are a mammal growing up in a harsh, unpredictable environment where you are susceptible to disease and might die young, then you should follow a "fast" reproductive strategy - grow up quickly, and have offspring early and close together so you can ensure leaving some viable progeny before you become ill or die. For a range of animal species there is evidence that this does happen. Now research suggests that humans are no exception.

Certainly the theory holds up in comparisons between people in rich and poor countries. Bobbi Low and her colleagues at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor compared information from nations across the world to see if the age at which women have children changes according to their life expectancy (Cross-Cultural Research, vol 42, p 201). "We found that the human data fit the general mammalian pattern," says Low. "The shorter life expectancy was, the earlier women had their first child."


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@ Ted
I don't believe Kryptonian's comment was racist. Even if it were, it certainly wasn't overtly so. An overtly racist comment would be straight up saying something about non-white people being "inherently flawed". It seems rather he/she was saying that anyone in that situation might make similar choices, regardless of race.
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I believe you know what I mean by my statement.

When I say that poor people are not animals, I mean to say that they are human beings, and should be treated as such. Give them the dignity to make choices.

You aptly demonstrate the superior attitude that I was criticizing, i.e., the notion that poor people are incapable of making conscious decisions because it's somehow part of their nature. This is an overtly racist assertion, since many of the world's poor are in third world countries, and are non-white.

To say that this is evolutionary and not socio-economic is implying that these non-white people are inherently flawed or at least operating on a lower level of humanity than others.

My first comment addressed how it is often a matter of women having no choice due to their status. It's society, not evolution. I'm not debating the existence of evolution; I'm just saying this can't be argued on the same scale as evolution.
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"Even poor people have the ability to think and make decisions for themselves. They're not animals."


We are all subject to the stressors in the environment as well as the chemical makeup of our genes. Yes, there is a large allowance for "personal choice," but if you think a person scrabbling for just enough food to stay alive has much if any choice about anything in their life, then you have never been truly hungry, my friend.
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