(Sorry for the absolute dearth of posting. I've been busy, and just as absolutely devoid of interest or inspiration. This threatens to continue, but I've got one short post in me today. This one.)
A lot of ink and pixels have been spent recently on the topic of declining birth rates in the Western world - the whys and the wherefores. I admit, I'm a (non-)contributor. I married into "instant family." My wife had a teenager by a previous marriage, and we are both happy with just one. She divorced when her daughter was five, and had no interest in repeating the motherhood experience, and I was never keen on the idea of kids to begin with. (Grandkids are OK. You get to hand them back once you've finished spoiling them.)
I'm your typical American materialistic, selfish sonofabitch.
A post today over at AR15.com caught my attention, though. It illustrates graphically one reason for the decline in birthrates here, anyway:
Cost Of Raising A BabyVarious comments, excerpted:
My wife and I were on the computer trying to see how much we would spend on the first year of our baby's life.
Not counting the medical bill for the delivery, I came up with $18,000 for the first 12 months while my wife came up with $16,000. This includes diapers, formula, clothes, baby sitter, nanny, etc.
Hate to see the numbers for 18 years
You assume that the childbirth will be normal. My second son showed up two months early and spent a month in neonatal ICU. Bill from hospital: about 80K. Careflight for the wife: about 8k (which is not covered by insurance). If male, insurance doesn't cover circumcision.All the comments are not negative, and I've edited out the uniform "It's worth it" addenda to these comments, but the fact remains: If you're middle-class in this country, having a kid is a major financial burden because of the way we choose to live.
You assume also that your child will have no allergies, such as milk or normal formula or even breastmilk. Price ProSobee or some of the other soy based formulas.
Most professional daycares charge upwards of $150/week for infant care.
What if she has twins?
$600 a month with part time day care and medical expenses.
Two biggest expenses are nanny at $720/mo and health insurance at $280/mo.
Thank God he has no medical problems.
daycare = 1100/month
why- cause having the wife not work would put us in the poor house.
why- cause we like actually living in a house...
I was in this boat 8-months ago when my son was born, we where both working full time good jobs, $20+ an hour. I decided I wanted my son to be raised by his mother, not a stranger, she wanted to continue working some. We agreed that he would go to day care twice a week and she could work two days a week. Luckly she is very good at what she does and they where glad to have her, some places would have let her go.
Anyways her are my expenses:
Diapers $40 a month
Formula $120 a month
Daycare two days a week $352
Clothing ect. $20
$572 monthly, however if I include my wifes loss in pay it would be $3,200 more a month.
$6,864 yearly in cost
$38,400 in lost pay.
As an aside, I work with two guys with large families. One had six kids naturally. His wife stays at home and homeschools. He makes a reasonable income, but raising six kids on his pay cannot be easy. The other has adopted five. His wife also stays home. His income is better, but I doubt he earns what I do (could be wrong about that) and I'd be hard-pressed to pay for that many.
I imagine this situation is true in most Western nations. If you're already poor, whether you live in an impoverished country or not, squirting out another kid doesn't add that much financial burden. In a wealthy, materialistic society, for those with a middle income or higher it does, because we choose for it to. In a welfare society, most of those extra expenses the poor would experience will be offset by government largesse. For the middle classes, they get to carry the burden of designer baby clothes and nannies (and medical insurance) on their own.
Sociologists have noted that societies tend to reduce their birthrates with increasing average wealth, Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb notwithstanding. I submit this is the reason why. It has nothing (or at least not much) to do with a lack of hope or the belief in a bleak future, and almost everything to do with a conscious economic decision. The poor can reproduce without much repercussion. The middle class cannot - not if they want to maintain or even improve upon the life to which they've become accustomed.
The problem is, as others have noted, our system pretty much requires at least a zero-growth birthrate to sustain it. In many countries, they aren't keeping up with even that. The result has been an influx of immigrants from (relatively) impoverished nations to fill the vacuum, and these immigrants do breed. And they aren't assimilating into the host cultures.
And this does not bode well for the near future.