“Once a woman is socialized to have an education and a career, she is socialized to have a smaller family. There’s no going back.”
One way to begin to understand the problem is to look at what has changed about the way we measure population trends.
You might think this would be cause for celebration. The planet’s lungs would surely breathe easier without the press of so many billions of humans; famine and poverty would surely wane with fewer mouths to feed and families to house. And you would be right — partly. The economic and geopolitical impact, however, would be more mixed.
Once having one or two children becomes the norm, it stays the norm.