Don't Have Kids If You Can't Afford to Take Care of Them

Stats 92

I've reproduced just twice. I'm ok with that.
Is limiting the number of children one has a symptom of “cultural decadence”? This week in The New York Times, Ross Douthat argues that it is the niceties of modern life that are contributing significantly to the declining birthrate in America.

Fertility plunged after the recession hit in 2008, and it has yet to recover. The Pew Research Center found that U.S. birthrates hit their lowest number ever in 2011, with 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. In 1990, it was 71 per 1,000.

It makes sense. A lot of people (myself included) worry that they won’t have the means to provide for another child. Kids are expensive, yo, what with their lessons and activities, clothes, health upkeep, and the endless supply of GoGurt they seem to consume -- and that’s before we even get into the emotional toll they take on our lives.

Think about it: In poor developing nations, people don’t worry so much about whether or not they’ll be able to afford private school or violin lessons or a bigger house to contain all that stuff that kids come with. That stuff doesn’t exist for them, so there’s no need to feel like a crappy parent for not providing it.

Another aspect that may be affecting the drop in kiddos being born is that a lot of modern moms work outside the home now. Daycare is expensive for one or two kids, can you imagine paying for it for four or six? Then there’s the time commitment … for better or worse, moms that work away from their children spend less time with them than those that work purely as domestic engineers. These parents may decide that their time is better spent nurturing a fewer number of children.

Megan McArdle points out in The Daily Beast that without growth, our economy is destined to become even more stagnant, especially as the population ages. She writes, “Without the growth around which all of our modern welfare states have been structured, the modern safety nets that governments have spent the last century establishing may not be politically or economically sustainable.”  

What are we women of childbearing age supposed to do? Take one (or two or three or four) for the team? I don’t think so, but I think it’s important to be aware of what this culture shift means for our individual families and our country as a whole.

The fact is that we’re not producing as many babies as we once did. Therefore those nonexistent babies will not grow up and join the workforce and pay the taxes necessary to fund Social Security and Medicare. Plan accordingly.

Do you think the declining birthrate is a result of cultural decadence, or something else?

back-to-work, bonding, childbirth, childcare, in the news, work, motherhood


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Karla C. Mulrenan

Don't have kids if you can't love them. that's more important than having money to send them off to 3 different activities and buying them anything they want just to get them off your back. 

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

I know for myself that I only have 2 kids because that is all we can afford without being on any kind of assistance. I would LOVE to have another child but we simply wouldn't be able to afford the increase in our health insurance and also the cost for me to have the baby. Seriously isn't that so sad? I have all the love for the child in the world and I have everything he/she would need. I don't spoil my current kids. They wear hand me downs, they play with hand me downs and they have less than other kids. Yet, they are happy and not selfish. I am totally thankful and grateful that I can stay home with my babies and we still pay for everything cash and everyone is healthy. But I just can't stretch it another baby. Maybe one day...

Kzint... KzintiFeline

"as it does with the entitlement generation not wanting to be tied down. They want to spend their money on themselves, and be unburdened by responsibility. "

Really?  My husband and I chose not to have children and we are the most responsible of any of our siblings.  We are the ones that have stable careers, we have always lived well within our means, even when we were just starting out as poor college graduates, we are the ones that have to bail out everyone else when they live beyond their means, I am the one who is staying with my dad and taking care of him while he recovers from surgery, even though I should be at home having my husband take care of me, since I have stage IV colon cancer and am about to have my seventeenth chemo treatment this Saturday.

Just because we choose not to have children does not mean that we are shirking responsibility in any way. 

lulou lulou

So pick a nice, great school, lower cost of living midwest state, and decide if your quality of life is based on more kids or better weather.

gridi... gridironsmom

I'm in agreement with kelticmom.

Desti... DestinyHLewis

Wouldn't it be lovely Jenny if your readers were able to actually READ and comprehend your article... This bird just flew over a ton of your heads. Read it again and try using that lump about three feet above your asses. O.m.g. Smh...

kelti... kelticmom

DestinyHLewis, Idk who you are referring to, but my comment was not in response to Jenny's article, but rather the commenter who implied that couples who do not have multiple children are somehow "entitled" and selfish and only want to spend their money on themselves and not be tied down.

Venae Venae

Headline:  Don't Have 'Em If You Can't Afford 'Em

Story:  Not Enough Babies Being Born


ashes... ashes2ashes831

Ummm headline and story= confused lol!

Wendy Hanson

Yes, people in developing nations are lucky to have so few worries when it comes to their children.

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