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?

Hard Work

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

7 Responses to Is a Lack of Money Stopping You From Having More Children?

  1. Mario says:

    Money is certainly a factor, but I think time and effort are bigger deals for me. There have just been too many other time-consuming things I’ve wanted to accomplish. Lots to think about

  2. Interesting thought. I don’t have kids so can’t really answer your question, but if I were a parent or thinking about becoming a parent, the financial aspect of having kids would certainly be a deterrent.

  3. Kathy says:

    We had one child. There were several reasons why and money was just one of them. We could have afforded to have another but we couldn’t have paid for college for more like we did for one. We were fortunate to pay for our son’s college with no student loans at all. Our son helped out by getting scholarships and working summers, but if we’d had to borrow for one, then we would have had to borrow for both since it would be unfair to saddle one with debt and not the other. And if we took the debt on for ourselves to pay, we would not have been able to retire at age 55.

  4. dojo says:

    We had our daughter 8 months ago and I could have another one, even if I’m 36. I don’t plan on doing so though, not only because of the money (we’re doing well anyway, so we’d be able to provide for another one), but because I don’t think I could ‘split’ in 2 parts so that both of them get all the love and attention they need.

  5. Hmm, I don’t have kids and maybe I’ll look back at this comment in the future and cringe but I don’t believe anyone who says they cannot afford kids or more kids. What they really mean is that they can’t afford to buy a big house, go on two holidays a year, ski, have take aways twice a week, two cars and brand new clothes each month. I don’t see why parents should be saving for college funds. At 18 you are an adult, I paid for university myself, and while in debt, I survived.

    • dojo says:

      In my country, even if you pay taxes, it’s a better idea to rely on the private medical system than to go in a state hospital. Let’s say that not a month passes by that we don’t hear about a baby dying because of medical errors (or just doctors won’t wouldn’t give a damn), or similar stuff. Doctors here are badly paid (officially, most get bribes from their patients), hospitals are dirty etc.

      So, as you could guess, for both my sake and the baby’s, I wanted to get pre-natal care and have the birth at a private clinic. Which in total amounts close to 4000 bucks (or more). In my country most people probably make 400 bucks in a month (and there are many who make less). Sure, from this huge ‘wealth’ you’re supposed to pay bills, probably loans, taxes etc.

      Reason why I did WAIT until I was ready financially. I am earning a good income as a web designer, so I was able to pay all my medical bills and get the medical care I wanted. 🙂

  6. Myles Money says:

    This is one of the big concerns I have about young students being pushed into further education without really understanding the financial implications: once tax, health insurance, pension contributions, rent/mortgage & living expenses are stripped out, you don’t have much left. Then you take out credit card and student loan repayments and you’re left with even less. And however you choose to look at it, there is a significant financial burden to having kids. A lot of couples may feel compelled to put the decision off longer and longer until they think they can afford to have children. And their lack of funds will undoubtedly contribute in many cases to their having just one child instead of two or three.

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