Colonising a World: Sex

Simply put, sex is one of the most important things to ensure that a colony is successful.  No, I’m not going to describe sex.  This post is safe for work.  What I’m talking about is maintaining a healthy population and sustainable population growth.

Let’s assume that the initial population of a colony is 15,000 people.  That’s not a lot of people to populate a planet.  But over time, it can result in millions.  In the beginning, everyone will be busy with setting up the colony, construction, establishing farms, and getting everything up to a comfortable standard of living.  But what about sex?  Of course, they’ll do it.  They need children.  But how many children per family?

My answer is however many they want.  Two children are required to maintain a population.  However, if they want the population to grow, and for people to spread around the planet, they need to have more than that.  It wasn’t so long ago that industrialised countries had a high birth rate, especially in the baby boom after World War II.  This contributed to a big boost in population.  A colony world needs a baby boom.  The population could easily double in a very short amount of time if every couple had two children.  But the death rate would be extremely low, as it’s unlikely that there would be many elderly people in the early stages of the colony.  As new communities are established, more children are needed to ensure future generations are able to maintain their towns and cities.

But what if people have ten children?  Is that too much?  They’d be spending so much time raising the children that it may be difficult for people to work.  Would this mean a return to more traditional stay-at-home parental roles?  I don’t mean women staying home.  Either the mother or father could stay home.  This would decrease the productivity of the population.  This would need to be resolved.  However, it’s unlikely that many families will have ten children.  In any case, it’s quite possible to have childcare specialists to take care of the young children until they’re old enough for school.

In today’s society, many parents are afraid of their children getting hurt or abducted by a stranger.  This is highly unlikely in the case of the colony.  It’s a close-knit community that is working together to take care of everyone.  Children are likely to have more freedoms, and so develop a healthy independence.  Older children can help taking care of the younger children, whether their own siblings or their neighbours’.

In the centuries after colonisation, this kind of population growth is unlikely to be maintained.  Societies should understand the impact of overpopulation, and try to maintain healthy population levels.  It’s essential in keeping the world’s environment healthy.

My question for you is this: How many children do you think each family should have?