According to the 2010 cover story "One and Done" by Lauren Sandler in Time magazine, "single-child families have almost doubled in number, to about 1 in 5" since the 1960s in the United States.
Many factors influence why a man and woman decide to raise an "only child" -- including the state of the economy (people have fewer children during lousy economic times) and the fact that couples, in general, now start families later in life. But I admit I was surprised that roughly 20% of children never experience the pleasures and pitfalls of having a brother or sister.
My sister and I are now in our 40s, but we don't act like it when we're together (as our parents will attest). While tempted to regale you with tales of how my younger sister always punched my arm without provocation while growing up, or how she immediately exclaimed "He started it!" from the backseat after our dad threatened to pull over on every family road trip, you'll just need to trust that I was always blameless, then and now.
Despite her reign of tyranny, I still love my sister and know that my memories, and who I am today as a fully grown man-child, would be significantly diminished without her in my life. That's why I struggle to comprehend existence without a sibling. I'm reminded of the words of James Boswell, a Scottish only child. He envied kids with a brother or sister because those children arrived in this world with a sort of built-in friend.
If you have a sister or brother, what's your fondest memory involving the two of you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.