Is a Lack of Money Stopping You From Having More Children?
I had an interesting conversation with some parents outside of my little girl’s school today. While I was waiting to pick her up a few other moms and dads were hanging around too.
We got to talking about how the great majority of the kids these days are part of a one child family. There are about 15 kids in my daughter’s class and we could only think of 3 or 4 of them that have brothers or sisters. Why do think that is?
The overwhelming opinion among the parents I spoke to was that having kids is too much hard work and now that their child is getting grown up they don’t want to go back to square one with another baby. Most of them seem to be mightily relieved to be able to pack their kid off to school every day and have the kind of lifestyle they had before the birth. I have to add that the fact that so many people wait until later in life to have children has got to be a big factor in their decision as well.
I reckon that if you have a child in your early 20’s then by the time you get to your late 20’s you are probably going to feel ready for another. However, if you have your first kid at 30 or over then it kind of cuts down the time you have to feel ready for another. In most parts of the developed world now about half of all families have only one child in them, which is a huge drop from just a couple of generations ago. The parents I spoke to were nearly all about my age, which means that they had their first child in their 30’s or thereabouts. On the other hand, my parents had 3 kids and my grandparents on both sides each had over 6.
What About the Money?
When I got home I started thinking about the one thing we never covered in our chat; money. No one brought up the financial side of things but it is definitely something that has a bearing for many parents.
It is estimated that bringing up a child to the age of 18 in the US costs an incredible $245,000, according to recent figures from the US Department of Agriculture. Of course, this figure can vary a lot from family to family but it gives us a good idea of the cost that having children involves.
In other parts of the world, the UK figure for raising a kid to 21 has been put at over $340,000. In developing countries the figure has been calculated as $900 each year. Regardless of where you live, there is no doubt that having a child takes up a big percentage of your income but what about having another?
For many of us having another child could bring a lot of joy to our lives but how much would it cost? They could probably use a lot of the older brother or sister’s clothes and toys but would you need a bigger house or a bigger car? What about when you start thinking about family vacations and, gulp, college fees? The costs sure add up when you start to think about them.
In the end, we all need to think about our own situation and work out whether or not we can afford to have another child. It isn’t a decision to be taken lightly but it definitely needs to be thought about if you are considering a bigger family in the future.
Is money a major factor for you when considering whether or not to have a bigger family?
Image courtesy of CNN