The United States is decidedly a pro-natal society. Meaning, through social policy, federal benefits, religious organizations, and family, we encourage and expect married couples to have children. In fact, I would suggest we also stigmatize and devalue married couples that voluntarily make the choice to not have children.
I don’t understand why it is not the other way around! I mean let’s think about this…..children today are no longer an economic asset to the family as they were until the late 19th century. Rather, children today are economic liabilities to the family. Research by the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that (based on class and income) that it costs anywhere from $150,000.00 to $275,000.00 to raise a child from birth to age 17. If we look at the average figure, assuming middle class, that would be approximately $225,000.00 per child! I am also critical of this estimate in that it does not include the overwhelming number of parents who provide partial or full support to children well beyond the age of 17 and into their 20’s. With two children, that means it has cost me over half a million dollars (or more!), and I am still paying!
And what do I get for my money? We have to feed them. EVERY day. And not just feed them, but the food has to be nutritious and they have to be fed on a schedule. And what about the crimp they put in our lifestyle? No more dinners out, no more adult focused vacations, no more spontaneity……
And, at what price?