Cost of raising middle-income child in USA increases by 40% in ten years

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99 Responses to “Cost of raising middle-income child in USA increases by 40% in ten years”

  1. DamnitDani says:

    Well, this doesn’t seem to deter those who keep having one after the other. I’m guessing the costs of child rearing don’t even come into the equation.

    • blissfulight says:

      …I’m guessing that birth control doesn’t even come into the equation, either.  

      • DamnitDani says:

        I know far too many people who don’t “believe” in using birth control and don’t seem to have any qualms about unprotected sex. Sense; it is not common.

      • Again I ask, should he cost of child care prevent me from having a child. Is that a strong enough consideration?

      • Guest says:

        It’s not always easily accessible, if at all (especially in rural areas)- there are also many cases of birth control being sabotaged. Please take that into consideration when talking about ‘those’ people and all those babies they keep having.

        • blissfulight says:

          That’s no longer true.  It’s easily accessible, and it’s cheap or free.  I used to deliver to very remote rural areas for DHL, and if you couldn’t get it at the store, it was available at the county health center.  No one was watching–you could take as much as you wanted.  Anyone with access to the web has a wealth of information on how to educate themselves on acquiring and using birth control, because like porn, it’s something that even the most hardcore conservatives use, and have access to.  It’s not enough anymore to plead for leniency for conditions that no longer exist, and pointing to outliers is not an excuse for personal responsibility.  

    • Brainspore says:

      Well, this doesn’t seem to deter those who keep having one after the other.

      Actually it does- check your birth rate statistics for developed countries over the last 60 years or so.

  2. tmccartney66 says:

    Do people not think about child-care expenses before they conceive children?  People always act all shocked when they start looking for child care.  The numbers are out there.

  3. Neal Starkey says:

    $975/month for two kids sounds cheap to me, for a while we were paying $1200/month for two, luckily one made it into full day kindergarten, now we can go back to paying the student loan bills…

  4. Ashley Reid says:

    It should be noted that the figures in the graph do not include college education costs.

  5. MrBillWest says:

    This is why my wife stays home. It was easier and more cost effective to have me work more (not hourly but I get bonuses for extra effort) and she can handle the homefront.

    Our family and life is much happier and healthier. And my wife does not miss the working world at all.

    • Michael says:

      I remember watching a tv show where some financial expert worked out what it cost a family to have the wife work. What with daycare, extra car expenses, extra money spent on take out food and services to make the working mom’s life easier it came out that it actually cost the family money for mom to work. The mother broke down and cried.

      • jacklecou says:

        Did they also work out how much it cost the dad to work?

        Inasmuch as women still make less than men in general, I suppose it probably would have cost somewhat less. But that’s obviously not a state of affairs which should be tolerated.

  6. mappo says:

    Obvious solution:  quit whatever job you’re doing that doesn’t cover day care expenses and start a day care center instead. Now you’re making more money and you’re not paying for day care!

  7. bcsizemo says:

    Hmm, again XKCD had it right.
    http://xkcd.com/946/

  8. alexb says:

    It would be more like $1600 a month in London. On average salaries lower than in the US.

  9. glatt1 says:

    We’re another family where the numbers made it pretty clear that my wife could stay home.  She wanted to stay home, and after day care costs and extra commuting costs to get our kids to day care, she was spending a day at work for almost no net pay.  So she stayed home for about 10 years and our quality of life improved dramatically.  Now she’s getting back into the workforce since the kids are in school and her job gets her home before they do.

    But the upcoming college costs are absolutely insane.  They keep raising the prices faster than you can save.

  10. MJ Karp says:

    If the cost of child rearing goes up 40% in 10 years, are you saying parents who had a kid 10 years ago should have anticipated that? (My bet is that the wages of day care workers aren’t behind the increase.) And what’s with all the anti-kid venting? Or is it just anti-parent? Won’t the world be a wonderful place when only rich people can have children!

  11. It’s self-destructive behavior, though; if proper childrearing becomes a luxury activity, then you’ll have a population of feral children, the least healthy of which will be culled by Darwinian activities, for the vast bulk of the citizenry, and the pampered, educated, effete upperclass will be ready victims when the time comes.  All that’s left of this scenario is a giant flying stone head and Sean Connery in a red leather nappy.

  12. jennix says:

    Breeders.  They’re funny because they don’t have to.

    • ppdd says:

      You do know what happens to countries when birth rates decline sharply, don’t you?  

      When you’re old, who exactly do you expect to pay taxes on the government services you no longer contribute to?  

    • Brainspore says:

      Breeders. They’re funny because they don’t have to.

      Well someone clearly has to, unless “Children of Men” is your idea of a fabulous setting in which to spend your twilight years.

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        If SF dystopias are your thing, “Soylent Green” is a worse, and rather more probable, future than “Children of Men”. People forget that the world’s population is still increasing, although things like global warming have pushed it off the radar somewhat.

        • Brainspore says:

          I won’t debate that (except maybe the “overpopulation is worse than extinction” part) but I stand by my statement of the obvious that some number of people do need to have children, so we should try to create a society where doing so isn’t an unbearable financial burden for the average citizen.

          People who badmouth “breeders” for the audacity of having children are every bit as unbearable as the ones who badmouth those who choose not to.

      • Guest says:

        Don’t worry- tons of low-income women without access to reproductive health services are already having TONS of babies!

        Plenty more on the way, I’m sure.

        • jacklecou says:

          Don’t worry- tons of low-income women without access to reproductive health services are already having TONS of babies! 

          I think this is a bit unfair, and possibly misguided. 

          I mean, the fact that many women, both in developed countries and everywhere else, are having a lot more children than they’d like (because of poverty, lack of control, and lack of access to health care and family planning) is absolutely true so far as it goes. But that’s obviously not a good thing. 

          I mean, globally, are you suggesting that we rely on keeping lots of women poor, uneducated and depriving them of access to health care in order to maintain birth rates? Are you opposed to providing services or policy interventions that would ensure that having children was practical for those who choose to?

          I assume not, because that wouldn’t make much sense.

          I presume that most of us here, Brainspore included, would like to see a good deal less poverty in the world, more choices for women, etc. And [ecological catastrophe aside] that’s probably optimistically achievable in a generation or two. But if global birthrates then start to match first world trends, the species might start to have a real problem. Even if you think there’s too many people (I don’t), and would be happy to see population level off or fall for a couple generations, it’s still got to be a long term concern. 

        • Brainspore says:

          I’m not sure where you’re going here. Do you disagree with something I’ve written, or something you think I’ve implied? I never would have guessed that “some number of people need to have babies in order to continue the species” would be such a controversial statement.

  13. TooGoodToCheck says:

    So, a chart. . .  that compares costs, over 10 years, which appears to not be adjusted for inflation?

    Either I don’t understand what’s being charted, or this is a spectacularly meaningless chart.  On a par with complaining that you used to be able to get a loaf of bread for 5 cents.

  14. syncrotic says:

    So it’s gone up by 40% over ten years. In other words, 3.4%/year, which is just a little bit above the official inflation estimates.

    Or are these numbers inflation-adjusted already?

  15. I wonder how much of this is the hedonic treadmill of consumerism. You know, how Junior has to have this season’s Nikes to wear to school otherwise all the other kids will ostracise them, or how everyone else got an iPod Touch for Xmas and it’d be so unfair if they only got a crappy shanzhai phone that isn’t even multitouch and doesn’t play Angry Birds; how the cost of not having abysmally low social status (and suffering from decreased psychological wellbeing due to this) keeps going up.

  16. JenniferS says:

    Why daycare hasn’t been socialized yet is beyond me.

  17. Typical Boing Boing article on an economic issue… A lot of emotion and indignation, but not a hint of analysis or explanation.
    Expect a number of comments on “we should do this” or “we should do that”, without any concern with actually understanding what causes the observed change.

  18. jacklecou says:

    Some of the reaction here is a bit disgusting (“high child care costs” = “well you should have used a condom”? Seriously?).

    That said, I believe Syncrotic has the right of it: these numbers are shoddy.

    The linked source cites USDA as the ultimate source. Which led me to this PDF. According to USDA, in REAL terms, costs have increased only 22% in the last 50 years (from $185,856 in 1960 to $226,920 in 2010).

    Child care expenses do represent a substantially larger portion of budgets these days though: 2% vs 17%.

    • hostile_17 says:

       Having a child should be like anything else: getting a car, going on holiday. You decide if you can afford it, and if you can do it. Babies don’t magically sprout and then you’re stuck with a cost.

      • jacklecou says:

        Having a child should be like anything else: getting a car, going on holiday. You decide if you can afford it, and if you can do it. Babies don’t magically sprout and then you’re stuck with a cost.

        Sure. Or a yacht, or a private jet. Or the refrigerators and cell phones that so many lucky duckies have these days. And hey! If you don’t go to the right schools or make partner by 34, you don’t really deserve a child anyway, amiright?

        Of course I’m also so totally sure that astronomical child care and college tuition costs are completely justified by the fundamentals. There’s no WAY that arbitrary and harmful runaway price inflation could ever occur in such services. I mean, who ever heard of such a thing?

        • hostile_17 says:

          Erm yes… a yacht and phone etc. you also need to decide whether you can afford before getting one. Pretty simple personal finance control.

          Refrigerators I would say a more of a human necessity and I’d worry if people couldn’t have one. Of course not everyone does in the world sadly, along with so many other fundamental requirements such as water.

          • jacklecou says:

            Erm yes… a yacht and phone etc. you also need to decide whether you can afford before getting one. Pretty simple personal finance control.
            Also, just for the record, a cell phone is not a luxury good these days. Idiot pundits on Fox News notwithstanding, it’s in the same class as a refrigerator or clean clothes, not  yachts. Having a reliable way for people like family and employers to reach you, to respond to emergencies, etc., is essential to modern life.

          • hostile_17 says:

            Cell phones are a relatively new invention… as a kid I never had one and I’m only in my early 30s. Phone boxes, landlines, they did us just fine and the world didn’t end.

            Also there’s a difference between a cheap phone that makes calls and an iPhone etc. Again… you make the choice that you can afford. I know someone who has an ~eight year old mobile and it costs him around £10 per month. It makes calls, it works.

          • jacklecou says:

            “Relatively new invention” has nothing to do with it. Cars aren’t much older, but they’re also essential in many places. Ditto refrigerators. Or antibiotics. Or electric light. 

            The comment about phone boxes and landlines is doubly irrelevant. Not only do social expectations change rapidly to accommodate the new technology (the expectation that most people have telephone access most of the time has completely changed how things are arranged and how fast they move), but hard line infrastructure is increasingly obsolete. Public phones are disappearing rapidly (in my neighborhood, even if you can find one here and there, there’s long odds that it’s actually in service). And in many cases it is cheaper to get a cheap cell phone than to pay for land line service. Not to mention more useful, especially if you move frequently or don’t have any fixed address at all.Also note that increasingly it’s not just voice calls you need. Text messages are increasingly relied upon. And email is also an expectation these days. As is access to various websites – which you might need to find information, search for jobs or housing, retrieve government forms, etc.

            There’s also increasingly little difference between “a cheap phone that makes calls” and “an iPhone etc.” Data plans aside, they’re both free with a contract these days. There’s even ultra cheap android handsets and the like for pre-paid plans.

            So stop being so elitist. It’s not 30 years ago. Update your expectations.

            But that’s not even my main point, which is that you’re still conflating how things are with how they should be. When it comes to non-luxury goods and services, never mind access to something like education, health care, or the right to have a child, then observing that “you make the choice you can afford” is profoundly inadequate. There is, in fact, no choice at all. That’s the problem.

          • hostile_17 says:

             Yeah I think we’ve gone off topic here.
            “There is, in fact, no choice at all.”

            Of course there is. Safe sex, no sex, or pull out.

          • digi_owl says:

            Landlines are perhaps still with us, but telcos are retiring phone boxes as fast as they can because “everyone” carries a mobile now anyways.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Also, just for the record, a cell phone is not a luxury good these days…Having a reliable way for people like family and employers to reach you, to respond to emergencies, etc., is essential to modern life.

            Apparently, I’m in mortal peril, because I don’t have one.

          • jacklecou says:

            Apparently, I’m in mortal peril, because I don’t have one.

            Alright. You got me. They’re obviously not quite as essential as oxygen or food. But still.

            And I’m guessing this is a reasonable choice for you. You’ve obviously got a computer. Probably employment, a fixed address, a land line if you need to call 911 or something. Friends and relatives who remain tolerant of your luddite tendencies and know how to get in touch with you. Etc.

            I’m also guessing that if you were a homeless guy, looking for work, you’d be slightly annoyed when a Fox News commentator in a $5,000 suit tells you that you must be richy rich and have no real problems since you could obviously afford that luxurious $20 pre-paid phone…

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I’m also guessing that if you were a homeless guy, looking for work, you’d be slightly annoyed when a Fox News commentator in a $5,000 suit tells you that you must be richy rich and have no real problems since you could obviously afford that luxurious $20 pre-paid phone…

            Imaginary necessities are all part of the Ponzi scheme that we call capitalism. A couple of years ago, I only made ~ $8K for the whole year, but my FICO was over 800, and I could have pulled $60K in cash of my credit cards.

            There’s a brilliant neo-realist film called La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV, in which Louis destroys the nobility and consolidates power by making it impossible for them to exist without spending all their money on shoes and hats. It worked.

            So, yes, the fact that I work at home makes a cell phone unnecessary for me, whereas a homeless person would need it for survival. But it’s also true that you’re never going to get off the leash if you keep focusing on how tasty the dog treats are.

          • jacklecou says:

            But it’s also true that you’re never going to get off the leash if you keep focusing on how tasty the dog treats are.

            A few dozen millennia ago, I think you were probably the guy who harumphed loudly when Zog and the rest of the guys over in the next valley started domesticating primitive grains. You told everyone it was just a stupid passing fad, or a never ending treadmill they’d be sorry they started.

            And you’d have been right to try to avoid it, because Zog and his descendants mostly just ended up working their asses off to feed a new parasitic class of priests or warlords or whatever, while themselves ending up with vitamin deficiencies and exciting new diseases picked up from the farm animals they’d taken up residence with.

            Yet a couple of millennia later, you wouldn’t really have much choice anymore. It’d be go down and live with everyone else in the villages and cities, or be a lonely old hermit. 

            I wonder if the real lesson of Louis’ nobles is that they preferred to go broke buying ridiculous hats rather than lose access to the only people and society that they knew. People just can’t live too far out from the norms set by all the other people.

          • Ito Kagehisa says:

            Nice, jacklecou.

            Of course, my own ancestors swept down on Zog’s valley at dusk, burned the village, raped the women, and crucified all the warlords and priests, and used the new-fangled bread to make sandwiches out of the roasted farm animals.

            But I’ve put all that behind me now.  I’m making new norms and dragging my friends and family with me.

          • jacklecou says:

            Well, Zog’s people probably had better beer, so maybe it was all worthwhile.

  19. Why not shrink the size of the child?

  20. jacklecou says:

    Hmm. Previous post stuck in moderator land because of the link maybe? Do over:

    1. A bit disgusted by some of the reaction here (“shoulda used a condom” is not a sensible reaction to the prospect of ballooning, exorbitant child rearing costs).

    2. These numbers are shoddy. Original source cited is USDA, but according to their most recent report, REAL (i.e., inflation adjusted) costs have increased only 22% in the last 50 years ($185,856 in 1960 to $226,920 in 2010, 2010 dollars). The chart above was obviously not inflation adjusted.

    That said, child care costs are a much larger portion of family budgets (2% then vs. 17% now), which still seems like a bit too much to me. Especially considering that real incomes for working people are stagnating.

  21. theflusheddotcom says:

    More use of Public Corporate Restrooms would bring this overall budget down. Just saying.

  22. Cicada Mania says:

    I don’t have any kids, but when I do, they’ll drink Dos Equis.

  23. MatthewC says:

    The article does not list source for the original data. If you want to read the actual report and its assumptions, go to:

    Expenditures on Children by Families, 2010 report:
    http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2010.pdf
     
    USDA’s Online Calculator for Estimating the Cost of Raising Children:
    http://65.216.150.170/default.aspx

  24. kmoser says:

    Judging by the obesity epidemic, I’d say the vast majority of the budget goes towards food.

  25. CGulow says:

     Here in N.Z. I pay $70 NZ (about $55 US) per week for my son to attend preschool four days a week. Of course I also pay $350 NZ ($273 US) per week for rent…

  26. cstatman says:

    blah blah blah  emotional, bad numbers, whatever.   you will see?  “smart” parents only having ONE child.      while the unwashed masses breed like crazed rabbits,    and we end up with “Idiocracy”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0yQunhOaU0

  27. tylerkaraszewski says:

    It’s interesting that this cost, which is presented as if it were fixed, scales with income. How much does it cost to raise a low-income child? Is there a discrepancy? If so, can it be explained? If it can, is it largely explained by saying “people with more money want to buy more things”?

    The amount of money you spend on your child is like the amount of money you spend on your car, which is to say it varies wildly with how much you feel you need and how much you’re able to afford. This graph strikes me as analogous to one titled, “cost of purchasing middle-income car rises by 40% in ten years,” which doesn’t go much out of it’s way to talk about the increasing popularity of luxury features on cars in this market segment.

  28. CoquiELF says:

    Bumpersticker || My other mortgage payment goes to daycare ||

  29. Stefan Jones says:

    Someone should bring up child care expenses at a GOP debate.

    The responses would probably be hilarious, ranging from accusations of socialist brainwashing to pining for the good old days of blacking factories, eight year old servant girls and shoe-shine boys.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know that the real-life concerns of working Americans are never brought up during debates, but just imagine.)

  30. Hagbard Celine says:

    Middle class are not supposed to have kids, as the Earth needs only this many serfs. We are softly driven to this understanding since 1972, when “Limits to growth” appeared.

  31. amgunn says:

    This is a much more true inflation figure than CPI or any of that gov’t produced nonsense, and a reflection of what you get when you have a Federal Reserve that inflates to “promote economic growth”. Want to make things affordable? End the Fed!

  32. blueelm says:

    How bad is it that I can’t tell whether this is spam or a sardonic comment on the nature of contemporary parenting?

  33. Childe Roland says:

    I for one did not think for one second about the cost of a child when we decided to have one. It was a totally love-based decision. On the other hand, we had those nice paying jobs that people used to have in this country.

    It is shocking that I send my kid to private high school and it doesn’t cost that much more than apparently what some people are spending on day care. And day care doesn’t have to have things like physics labs, drama auditoriums and football teams.

  34. I suspect part of this is due to having less kids per family, my basic assertion is that you spend the money you have on however many kids you have, more kids less per kid, simple really.  Oh, and given you spend what you have on kids you can reduce the carbon footprint per child by increasing the number/household (higher density occupation of space).

    But they are spendy, well, if you don’t have the time to cook, shop resale or Craigslist, and enroll in a ton of activities and don’t have a fixed budget for holidays and birthdays.   We have minimized costs in a number of ways, I cook almost all meals, hand me downs are mandatory, resale is first choice, Craigslist and resale for all items that can be safely used in that manner (car seats are off that list).   Perhaps the most difficult choice I have made is between developing my career (MS in biochemistry, ideally return to grad school and obtain the PhD with it) or stay at home.   Well, staying at home is the most economical given we don’t purchase formula (pumping is its own job and despite new ground gained still costly emotionally and physically since it means more work) and with 3 kids childcare is astronomical.   So my kids benefit, this country has to eat it since it has repressive attitudes about dual-income households with kids, and I sit and stew about things on Boing Boing.

    Oh, and yes I was born in 1972- mom was big with me when the campaigns were heavy on campus for population growth reductions.   I think I started out not being impressed.   I am still not impressed with popular sentiment, it is often misguided, education for women, better childcare, better paid leave, better support for families would change a lot for this country and world.

  35. CHilke says:

    Too bad 97 percent of the workforce actually saw their wages fall over the same period:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/20/1018630/-Only-the-most-educated-3-saw-wage-gains-between-2000-and-2010?via=blog_1

    And if you want your child to be a part of that vanishingly small 3 percent that isn’t seeing their wages erode, you’d better have some serious stash (or hope your child has star athlete genes). From CNN Money:

    “… colleges are bidding up tuition prices faster than a hedge fund manager at an art auction. Over the past 10 years the cost of private college has jumped more than 60%, nearly three times as much as incomes over the same period, and will now set you back $42,000 a year on average.
    Prices at public colleges have shot up even more, nearly doubling to $21,000 for in-state students. Got younger kids? By 2020 you’re looking at a four-year bill that’s likely to top $240,000 for private schools and $155,000 at public universities. Sure there’s financial aid, but scholarships aren’t keeping up with tuition inflation. So long, retirement hopes; hello again, boss.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/08/pf/college/tuition_costs.moneymag/index.htm?iid=Lead

    Oh, and you can forget about that “financial aid” part: Universities Seeking Out Students of Means:

    “More than half of the admissions officers at public research universities, and more than a third at four-year colleges said that they had been working harder in the past year to recruit students who need no financial aid and can pay full price, according to the survey of 462 admissions directors and enrollment managers conducted in August and early September.”

    “Similarly, 22 percent of the admissions officials at four-year institutions said the financial downturn had led them to pay more attention in their decision to applicants’ ability to pay.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/education/21admissions.html?_r=1

    In my view, you would have to be insane to have a child in the U.S. today unless you’re filthy rich. You’re basically condemning them to serfdom. Love don’t pay the bills.

    I think people are going to start realizing this and as the depression drags on, inflation ramps up, and wages continue to plummet, and we’ll see a demographic collapse a la Russia:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5056672.stm

    Interestingly, according to statistics, minorities are having many more children than whites. In 2008, Asian, black and Hispanic children made up 47 percent of the population under 5.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/us/12census.html

    • Guest says:

      Race panic! Too many brown babies! They’re taking over! lol

      • jacklecou says:

        Race panic! Too many brown babies! They’re taking over! lol

        You’ve made a couple of comments like this. I’m not seeing where they’re justified given the comments you’re replying to.

        (That’s not to say that obnoxious race panickers don’t exist, just that I don’t think we’ve seen any so far on this thread.) 

  36. It is a basic biological property to find love and create a family. The fact that doing so is ever more economically difficult in this country shows that the *country* isn’t being made right. I am sickened by every one of the commenters on this thread who have suggested that people who don’t have money shouldn’t raise families. It seems we have no moral compass but profit. Horrible!

  37. lavardera says:

    How come in Sweden, a country the size of California with the population of NJ, everybody can have  day care, health care, unemployment security, and provide their middle class with a comfortable living and a dignified life for even the most basic laborer. If that is socialist, then how on earth does the GOP make a dirty word out of socialist?

  38. Jim Grinsfelder says:

    Someone oughta write a book….’how to raise a kid on only $35 / day’

  39. The obvious solution here is to move to Canada and then have children. Up here one parent gets a mandated year paid leave from their job. Full-time kindergarten is being rolled out here too, so that leave parents just three years of needing to potentially pay someone else to watch the kid. Minimum wages are 30% higher than in America, which makes other wages generally higher too. We have no health care insurance to buy, since we have universal health care. Most jobs provide dental, vision, and prescription coverage. The schools are far better too, ranked third or fourth in the world compared to America’s nineteenth to twenty-fourth. Finally the universities are more affordable, and with some smarts and hard work your kid can be in really good financial shape after they get their degree. My wife just got her Bachelors, and with all her scholarships we paid just about $4,000 out of pocket for books, tuition, everything for all the four years. In return we got lots of tax credits, we still have like $11,000 of tax credits! So no debt, degree in hand, will not need to pay taxes for a few years here….

    • Charles Boulakia says:

      I call BS on this assessment.  I live in Canada.  A six figure full time income for a woman (say, $100,000/year), when converted to half time ($50,000), when taxes are deducted (net $32,000 or so) won’t pay for two kids in day care ($1500/month/kid).  Also BS on the cheap university education – my school (which cost $1000 a semester in tuition when I went, 15 years ago) now costs $25,000/year in tuition.

  40. hostile_17 says:

    “It takes half of my paycheck to pay for my child care — you start to feel like, Is this even worth it?” said Anna Aasen, a mother of two from Roseburg, Ore

    Wow. Just wow.

  41. jacklecou says:

    Erm yes… a yacht and phone etc. you also need to decide whether you can afford before getting one. Pretty simple personal finance control.

    I think it’s just possible that you may be missing the point. 

    If not, I’m not sure I’m on board with your proposal that children ought to be considered a luxury good.

    I mean, apparently you agree that’s it’s a bad thing that, for various reasons beyond their control, far too many people do not have access to good drinking water? A bad thing that, in general, you would be in favor of taking reasonable steps to do something about?

    So what’s your response to a person who somehow gets in over their head financially trying to obtain water. “Tsk, tsk. You need to decide whether you can afford it before getting any?” “Tsk, tsk. You should have known the human body is mostly water before you were born.” 

    What?

    The point is that ultra high costs for things like day care or college are unreasonable. They represent policy failures that we, as a society, can and should do something about. Better parental leave policies, public provision of day care, investigations into the causes behind runaway tuition, etc. Saying that this is the way it should be and people should just not have children if they can’t afford it is tantamount to saying that ultimately only the richest should be able to have children. And it’s monstrous.

  42. lillyd says:

    We parents are in a bit of a squish these days. Wages and salaries are flat, everything else is increasing by huge amounts. Not just daycare, but healthcare for a family is outrageously expensive. Every year my company pays less and less for worse and worse coverage. I pay more out of pocket. My deductible this year exceeds the cost of maternity care and a normal birth. My family spends more on food than I can believe, not because we are obese, but to AVIOD being obese. Eating healthy is cost prohibitive for most people.

    There are many countries that choose to help with the cost and burden of having children, and they should…because if you think the current state of the world is depressing, try imagining it with no children. As others have said, it is also economically unsustainable to have low reproductivity (also too high) but people actually have fewer children when they have more secure societies, so having parenthood be a more financially secure prospect actually moderates population growth.

    Many countries have neighborhood daycares, yes, socialized to be affordable and home assitance in the early months. Someone mentioned Canada’s year of leave at, what, 60% pay? This (I’d be happy with 3 or 6 months though, honestly) would reduce unemployment because companies would have to have an extra workers fill in. Also, it benefits families to be able to not pay for childcare that first year, formula cost, transportation cost, etc.

    On site daycare, enocuraged by providing tax credits to companies who provide it (and still charge people but not as much as the current market) would allow more women to work and continue to breastfeed (pumping is opressive and I much admire those who do it long-term. I work from home with grandma-care, so I’m very lucky in that regard). Longer breastfeeding would reduce obesity, cancer, diabetes, asthma, etc and pay off in reduced healthcare cost, not to mention eliminating the need to pay the huge cost of formula. More companies could be flexible like mine, and allow for people to work from home, helping reduce commuting cost, possibly childcare expenses, certainly reducing the amount spent on eating out, maintaining professional wardrobes, etc.

    Yes, many of these things would only benefit certain people in certain situations, but we are a society. If families can’t make ends meet, they can’t spend money. If they can’t spend money our economy suffers. Companies right now have record profits, that they are pocketing, not spending on hiring people or improving benefits. Why? Because they can and they are not altruistic by nature.

    There are plenty of solutions, but until our society values people, parenting, and the common good rather than the profit of corporations, I don’t have much hope things will change. People just don’t care enough about other people. They selfishly say that doesn’t directly benefit me, so I won’t support it. So, we are left with a government that supports the profits of corporations and doesn’t support a healthy and productive society.

    Instead of even wanting to support each other, we attack each other for our choices…to have or not have children. Who’s a bigger drain on society? Who took our jerbs?

    That is exactly the way they want it, the powerful people sit back and reap the rewards of a system skewed in their favor while we argue over the last meager piece of pie.

  43. jacklecou says:

    Of course there is. Safe sex, no sex, or pull out.

    Don’t be obtuse. Nobody is saying that it is literally impossible to avoid having children. Or that someone’s choice to have a child should not be deliberate and well considered.  

    What I’m saying is that it’s really, really weird the way you’re insisting on putting children in the category of consumer goods, as if having children is really just another luxury for well off people, like a fancy car or vacations in the Bahamas. 

    I humbly submit that they are not. 

    As such, if there is evidence that many people do not have any meaningful choice in the matter of reproduction – that is, for many people the “choice” is between being unwillingly childless on the one hand, or being unreasonably impoverished and immiserated on the other – then that is a problem. A problem that is in no way helped by sniping that “Having a child should be like anything else: getting a car, going on holiday.”

  44. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Hey, Antinous, how rude can I be to the people calling parents “breeders” and insufferably parading their own emotional paucity before I get censored?  Can I tell them to fuck off and die, since they clearly believe that less people is better?  Can I tell them to start smoking today, so that they can die painful deaths of lung cancer and cost the rest of their insurance company’s clients less money to support in their old age?  What’s the limit?  Because the boorishness of these people makes me want to insult them back, using their own argument that money is more important than other human values.

    In the year 2000 over 50,000 children were adopted in the USA alone.  The parents who chose to exercise their basic humanity and provide loving homes for children in need did not do so because they had some extra money they felt like throwing away.  Some of them were infertile or gay or otherwise incapable of “breeding” but that’s not why they did it either.  They did it because providing for children is a moral, ethical, and biological imperative.

    To understand what it means to be a person and not just a meat robot, be a loving parent to a child.

    Fuck money and the horse it rode in on.

  45. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Well, yeah, tooth decay is a great argument against agriculture, but beer is a great argument for it!

    I thought about your post this weekend while I spent a day with my rural relatives.  90 year old farmwives from the American South make the best fried chicken in the world!  It was interesting  to try to figure out how the younger set are reconciling the norms shown on the Internet with the norms set by their parents, who in turn once had to try to reconcile the world shown on television with traditional farm life.  There’s a lot of “us .vs. them” thinking involved, not quite class warfare but strongly reminiscent of it.

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