Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking at a Gates Foundation event in New York, suggested that no well-educated woman would have a large family. “Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children,” he said.

Catherine Pakaluk, a professor at The Catholic University of America with degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, responded by posting a picture of six of her eight children. It ignited a Twitter storm. Other smart women around the world with large families followed suit.

There is this element of truth in President Macron’s comment: First World countries do have lower fertility rates. In the United States, the rate has been cut in half twice over the past two centuries, from seven or eight children in 1800, to 3.5 in 1900, to 1.7 today. More babies made economic sense when children worked in a family business and supported aging parents. ….