"Having a baby is like buying six houses, all at once..." - Macleans.ca
 

“Having a baby is like buying six houses, all at once…”


 

“…Except that you can’t (legally) sell them—and after 13 years they’ll tell you they hate you.”

Fascinating  article (“America’s One Child Policy”) in the Weekly Standard on low international fertility rates and the failure of governments around the world to persuade women to have more kids.

And this bit made me laugh out loud, because it’s so true — any discussion about moving up from two kids to three inevitably involves the words “new vehicle”:

“Social changes have affected the fertility rate, too. Some of these changes are small and simple—like the evolution of car-seat laws, which make it difficult to transport more than two children.”

Hey, governments, want people to have more kids to support your aging populations?  Invent a sexier minivan.


 
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“Having a baby is like buying six houses, all at once…”

  1. A lower population is a good thing.

    It used to happen 'naturally' through wars and famines, but now it's done by choice.

    • There's a big difference between a "lower" population and an older population. What most western countries have is the latter. People are living to be 80 and 90 (for some of the reasons you cite), and there are far fewer people of a younger age to replace and support them. Combine that with the fact that most decent jobs now require education until one is 24-25 and you have massively growing health/old age costs, supported by an increasingly shrinking tax base (relatively).

      When the pressures get really bad, people my age (29) are going to say screw it. I'll support my parents privately in their old age, everyone else over 65 can fend for themselves.

      • I may not have all the answers but it seems to me that there's enough economic research and real world evidence that suggests that government intervention is one of the main sources of the fertility problem and more of it could not only lead to the breakdown of the family structure but also to reducing outcomes for those children in single parent households.
        Read more at http://bit.ly/a2cv53

        • Oh pul-eeze.

    • Emily-
      While I disagree with your unproven assertion, I might be persuaded that a lower population is a better thing if those that advocated for lower population took the first step themselves.

      If that is not possible, then I guess "childless by choice" is the next best option, though that choice is a brutal darwinian indictment of the individual making it — he/she knows best the value of his/her genes.

      Cheers

      • We don't need 'large' populations…we aren't ants.

        The only thing people are concerned about is boomer pensions, and as the article states the boomers are a fluke. Past that 'pig in the python', populations revert to falling. It's a temporary problem.

        • I may not have all the answers but it seems to me that there's enough economic research and real world evidence that suggests that government intervention is one of the main sources of the fertility problem and more of it could not only lead to the breakdown of the family structure but also to reducing outcomes for those children in single parent households.
          Read more at http://bit.ly/a2cv53

          • Enough spam, thanks. It was nonsense the first time.

          • You're accusing someone of spam when you throw around statements with zero back up, kind of like spam

        • Emily-
          Pithy, and perhaps self-evident to some. If your aversion to "large" populations also leads you to favor ending welfare, medicaid, and medicare, then I think we have some common ground to build on. Paying people to breed, then paying to keep them healthy enough to collect a pension that you are also paying for seems like a bad idea. Let's give Darwin a chance…

      • I may not have all the answers but it seems to me that there's enough economic research and real world evidence that suggests that government intervention is one of the main sources of the fertility problem and more of it could not only lead to the breakdown of the family structure but also to reducing outcomes for those children in single parent households.__Read more at http://bit.ly/a2cv53__

        • And now the third……

  2. There is an error in the link – looks to be an incomplete URL. I'd be interested in reading it.

  3. link isn't working for me

  4. Jonathan V. Last's article is very thorough, and thoroughly wrong-headed. His facts are probably correct, but his assumptions are the road to disaster.

    Our economies may depend on a continously expanding population (his basic assumption, and that of the majority of economists), but our environment will be destroyed by it. Last concludes (among other things) that North American fertility rates would be improved by more accessible detached single-family homes, meaning both more agricultural land or wilderness gone and more and better commuter freeways (with the obvious consequences of higher energy consumption, especially fossil fuels, and increased pollution).

    We need original and innovative thinking, probably involving a major decrease in what is now considered part of our "standard of living" (mostly involving high levels of consumption), to achieve a stable (or slowly declining) world population. Otherwise we are heading for serious difficulties as a species.

    If we extend the healthy parts of our lives and decrease overall consumption, we can extend the number of years of individual involvement in the work force while decreasing the overall amount of time spent working. (Eating less and healthier, and exercising more would be a good start to both.) This would result in lessening the impact of an aging population and reducing our environmental footprint.

    I don't expect this to happen. There is too much inertia in the system, and the vast majority of humans have shown no ability to take the long view

  5. You misunderstand if you think the minivan needs to be sexier. What it needs to be is not a financial hit of upwards of $20K, arriving at the same time as a new baby.

    • " What it needs to be is not a financial hit of upwards of $20K, arriving at the same time as a new baby"
      why pay now when you can pay later? "no money down, 0% financing (oac) and low monthly payments: test drive one at your local dealer today!"

      • It's too bad such terms aren't available on the baby too.

      • You mean I DON'T have to pay? In that case, put me down for three (minivans, that is. I still don't want three babies)!

        • Now do we all understand the American housing bubble?

  6. I may not have all the answers but it seems to me that there's enough economic research and real world evidence that suggests that government intervention is one of the main sources of the fertility problem and more of it could not only lead to the breakdown of the family structure but also to reducing outcomes for those children in single parent households.
    Read more at http://bit.ly/a2cv53

    • LOL broken record here….

  7. Hey, governments, want people to have more kids to support your aging populations?

    Don't condemn them to an absolute certainty of a crappy standard of living in order to pamper the aging population in the first place? Hey, I just thought I'd throw it out there.

    • When you're elderly we'll put you on an ice floe.

      No 'pampering' for you, no sirreee.

    • Yes, we get 5% or so taken off our earnings to pay for their incomes, then we get another 15% taken off to pay for their health care. This is before we even have the chance to put a cent towards our own families.

  8. If governments in Canada want young people to start having babies, a few suggestions:
    – student loan forgiveness for young families (hard to budget for a baby with an average student debt of $20,000 each)
    – affordable childcare (since grandma and grandpa are off on a cruise, and one income simply won't pay the bills)
    – affordable housing investments in areas where property and rental prices are beyond the reach of young families.