The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Don’t have kids? Neither do some of the world’s most powerful leaders.

The G7 consists of the most developed countries of the world. These countries have low birthrates, and most of the G7 leaders have no children of their own. (Video: Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

The leaders of the top industrialized nations are meeting in Sicily, Italy, for the annual Group of Seven summit, and this year, most of them are united by their lack of offspring. Five of the seven national leaders attending the G-7 summit have no biological children.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni have no children. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has two stepsons, and French President Emmanuel Macron has three stepchildren.

Akie Abe, Japan’s first lady, and Britain’s prime minister have spoken about how they struggled with infertility. “It’s been very sad. It just turned out not to be possible for us,” said May to “Leading Britain’s Conversation,” a British radio program.

Only the leaders of the North American G-7 nations have children. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has three young children, while President Trump, who has five children, has more offspring than the rest of the G-7 leaders combined.

The lack of children among these leaders is in line with the low birthrates of their countries. The fertility rate in G-7 countries ranges from Italy’s 1.4 children born per woman to France’s 2.0, according to the World Bank. The commonly accepted level for developed nations to maintain their population without immigration is 2.1.

Shinzo Abe has spoken about the need to stabilize the shrinking Japanese population, citing efforts to use artificial intelligence and robotics to replace the productive capacity of Japan’s aging and dwindling population. That's in stark contrast to the approach on population and fertility being taken by the leader of a major non-G-7 country. “Make not three, but five children,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said to Turkish immigrants living in Europe. “Because you are the future of Europe.”

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