The Economic Reason for Having Just One Child

The world will tell you that money shouldn't be a factor in deciding to have more children. But should we really have to justify wanting to preserve our resources?

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One recent night, my daughter Dahlia and I popped out for pizza, and while we were chatting over our slices, CBS Evening News came on the television suspended over the counter. We sat transfixed by a segment on a massive number of homeless families that have settled in a makeshift community in the California desert. Dahlia chewed thoughtfully as she watched a father tell the reporter about how he had worn a tie to work until six months ago, when he lost everything and had no choice but to move there with his three kids. Then she shifted her eyes to me and asked, “Mama, that won’t be us because there’s only one of me instead of three?”

She’s on to something. According to the USDA, a child born in 2011 will cost an average of $234,900 to raise to age 18. If your household income is over $100,000, you can raise that number to about $390,000. Yes, there are some savings after the first child — you don’t have to buy another high chair! — but it’s not as though you get a huge volume discount on subsequent offspring. There are also opportunity costs of a mother’s loss of income from parental leave, scaling back hours or dropping out of the workforce entirely. No wonder, according to the USDA, two-parent households with two children devote over one-third of their income to their kids. Add it all up and there’s a strong economic case for stopping at one child.

And yet the world will tell you — from grandmothers to sitcoms to strangers in the supermarket — that money shouldn’t be a factor in deciding to have more children. If you express concern about how much children cost, then you’ve clearly got your priorities wrong. You’ll make it work, they tell you. Don’t be selfish. (I wrote about this and other stereotypes of parents with singletons in a cover story for TIME.)

There’s a popular theory of economics that contends that there’s really no difference between deciding to raise a child and making any other investment. Kids, like anything else, the thinking goes, are a form of capital that yield a future flow of valuable services. Which, if you have land to farm, makes perfect sense; less so, I’d say, in the modern world. If that’s how people make the choice to become parents and to have additional children, I’ve yet to meet any. However you might identify the impulse to bring a child into your family, to love and tend a new and growing life, it’s probably not a cost-benefit analysis.

But why do we need to present a rationale for the decision to devote our resources — whether they are financial or that ultimately luxury, time — to something other than children? What’s wrong with devoting your energy to one wonderful kid while sparing some to travel, maintain friendships, read a novel and be a more engaged citizen, not to mention not stretching yourself until you snap just to get your damn work done each week? Considering the greater flexibility that stopping at one kid allows, it’s no surprise that in a University of Pennsylvania study of 35,000 mothers, those raising only children were the happiest, with each additional child reducing a mother’s well-being.

(MORE: The New Science of Siblings)

Last week, our stove started to fail, and the three of us went to an appliance store to find a replacement. The salesman told me about people who come in week after week, armed with issues of Consumer Reports and cost comparisons. It occurred to me then, as it has many times before, that people agonize and weigh their options about such domestic choices much more than they do about the decision to have a second or third child.

If it’s what their hearts are telling them to do, I understand. But if it’s that culture aggressively recommends having more than one child, that’s another issue. If the stigma of raising an only child were to dissipate — and if parents didn’t feel shamed for wanting to use their precious resources elsewhere — perhaps people would make different choices. Perhaps they’d learn, like I have, that we don’t need to stretch ourselves more than we have to.

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277 comments
BettyAnn1
BettyAnn1

Exceed the poverty guidelines, then they will not want to have children because they will have to pay for their own damn food.....so then more illegals will flood america and then in 10 years the govt will say the same damn thing about the birth rate.....and so the cycle will continue until the politicians really do something smart about the economy!

BettyAnn1
BettyAnn1

I know china has a one child policy....but yet the Chinese have a population of 1.6 billion people, not sure how it got to be high if they only have A one child policy.

Anyway, I only have one child and I would like to have another one, but unfortunately, I live in nyc and don't make enough to afford another child, nor can I afford a babysitter for that child. My daughter is 11 years old already and I simply just can not afford it. More kids also are being forced to move back home with their parents because the job market is terrible and so are wages! The college graduate is suppose to move out and get a job right after college but instead they are stuck living at home until they are ready to move out, which usually isn't until years later.

The American govt is doing absolutely nothing to boost the economy, instead they want to allow illegals to take over the country and the politicians are saying that they have more kids, well if you make them legal, they will stop having children because then they will feel the force of all the taxes that they have to pay and then they will try to apply for foodstamps and they will now be turned down because they just might exc

john.a.12890
john.a.12890

Ok but having two children is good and it will not effect much economically and also it depends on parents whether they effort only one child or two.

Jothika
Jothika

My parents immigrated here from a Third World country and each came from a family of 8 children. None of my aunts or uncles, living in the First World, chose to have more than 3 children.

My few cousins who grew up in 1 child households were often raised close together for companionship.

These days, having seen "middle child" syndrome emerge among my cousin's families who have more than 2 children, I think large families deprive the middle children the chance to shine and enjoy their babyhood.

BillHees
BillHees

Let's see... the author has made the economic case for having the fewest children possible, yet she did not follow her own advice. She had a child and is proud of her choice.

Could it be that her child provides non-monetary value? And if so for a first child, why not for a second, third or fourth child (etc.)?

Notice the study she mentioned -- it found that women with more children than she has are less happy. Okay, so what about women with *fewer* children than she has, i.e. non-mothers? Are they more happy? Why weren't they included in the study?

Back to the economics, some of the biggest costs are from simply having children at all, regardless of the number:

* The career hit from working on the 'parent schedule' and less flexibility
* Perhaps one less income altogether
* Switching from individual or couple to family health insurance
* Moving to a family-style home and/or a good school district

Once you invest in all this setup, why use it just for one child? Seems pretty inefficient.


LS0909
LS0909

Adult children not visiting elderly parents risk lawsuits in China; this Law of Confucius will take effect on July 1, 2013.  Let us see whether this Law of Confucius can force children to visit their parents and do so with sincerity!
Pretty soon the Chinese government will not need to enforce One-Child-Policy as people will self-regulate themselves.
Why do I believe this will happen?
Married couples bring their children into the world in hopes of creating their own families.  If they knew that there is a high possibility that they would be discarded by their own children in the future, would they still want to sacrifice twenty years of their lives, energy, money, and emotions to raise children?
Human beings are motivated by nothing but self-interest.  When potential parents’ own interests are being threatened, they would enforce the law on themselves effectively without the need for the authorities to do so.

fmurphy80
fmurphy80

The news today was that 2012 was the first year where there where more deaths than births of white non-Hispanics occurred. Demographics is/ are destiny. Enjoy your extra vacation but your child and grandchild may not enjoy their status as a minority. Nor may the country as a whole prosper with the new majority. The implications of a one child generation are enormous on the macro level but enjoy you micro dessert while you can.

katbert411
katbert411

I have just one child and will only have one child.  There are a million reasons why this is the case - and none of them are really anyone else's business.  This is the right decision for our family - me, my husband, and our son.   Do you think I am lazy and selfish?  Guess what - I could not care less.  Because what you know about me from the fact that I have only one child... is that I only have one child.   If you choose to make a judgement about me on that premise alone, then your opinion is the very definition of ignorant.

Several people talk about all of the things that an only child misses out on - while ignoring that there are some very real gains for an only child, as well.   You could argue that one of five children, will miss out on many of the experiences that an only child will have.   I mean, I look at a large family and think, "How could you possibly devote enough one-on-one time to every child?"  Just as someone with five kids looks at my kid and thinks he is getting short-changed, I look at their children and feel the same.   Every path in life involves some type of sacrifice - a loss of some type of experience.   

There were a few comments about the "Precious Egg Syndrome" or the value of having "an heir and a spare".  I would like to hope that a parent who loses a child feels the same grief whether they have one child or 10.   To say that parents of one child will grieve more if something happens to their kid is to cheapen the relationship that parents have with multiple children.   I hardly think one of these parents who loses a child reacts with, "That's okay - I've got another."

I also think that several people have an issue with the fact that this article addresses the financial costs of having children, and are reacting in a visceral and emotional way.   It always uncomfortable to put a price on a family relationship (especially after you already have it).  I would agree that the experiences I have with my son are invaluable - regardless of how much we have spent on diapers over the last three years.  We all spend money on what we value (if we have the luxury to go beyond the necessities).  But, the fact that you can't buy love ... doesn't mean that it doesn't cost you financially.   And, why is someone selfish if they choose to not have more kids then they can comfortably afford?   I think that is smart, and the best for everyone. 

Many people responding to this article claim that the author is "justifying her decision", but isn't that the case for everyone with multiple kids?  I always love it when someone says I have four kids that turned out great... and the they list what jobs they do.   Being a lawyer means that you are well-educated, not well-adjusted.  I think we all know doctors and lawyers are a-holes.   In fact, I know that we ALL know someone with siblings who is a completely horrible person.  Not being an only child doesn't automatically bestow on you more social skills than being an only child.  A fact, I believe is proven by may commentators to this article.  (NOTE:  If you claim women who don't want to have lots and lots of babies will be the downfall of this country - all while making racist comments about minority groups - I don't exactly think you are making a case for children with siblings always turning out to be emotionally-stable, well-adjusted members of society.)

And, for those who keep bringing up China's One Child Policy - that is not relevant to this discussion.  That is the government making the choice about how many kids you can have - something that I do not believe anyone here is advocating.  This is about how many kids one chooses to have.  There is nothing about discussing the benefits of a decision to have only one kid (or to have multiple) that says everyone should be forced to limit their kids to one.  Let's not be melodramatic.

Of course, I guess if people weren't melodramatic (and occasionally horrible and racist), then it wouldn't be the internet...


MKM3277
MKM3277

I think the fact that so many people are mad about this article only proves that a stigma does exist against one child households. I physically cannot have another child, and I cannot recall how many times I have been chided for this. Without going into private and emotionally painful medical history, how do you explain to people that they do not have the right to comment on your own personal, and often, out of your hands, life choices? People really need to mind their own business and spend more time providing for all these children they believe in having, because our social programs and welfare issues are out of control.

emcourtney
emcourtney

The biggest problem I see with having only one child is there in no margin for loss.  Better to do like the royal's; an heir and a spare.

LadyinLA
LadyinLA

Am I the only one who hears China's One Child Policy echoing through this article?  I find it a little chilling.  

To be sure, having children involves costs... and more children "cost" more than fewer, but why an article stating the obvious?  Besides, anyone who already knows they want to have more than one child doesn't need to be persuaded out of it, surely.  Must they deny themselves the joy of a house with more than one child?  And I'm surprised to hear intimations of guilt on folks who choose to have only one child.  Hadn't heard that one before.

One point does resonate, however:  every woman who chooses to have a child takes on an economic risk that is unique to her and not shared by the father; and US and workplace policies have not caught up to that fact.  I would really like to see more articles about that.

jejema
jejema

Ok careful now this might blow your mind, but maybe, just maybe, it would be ok to not fill your body with chemicals or have it surgically altered to prevent a natural healthy process that sometimes occurs after intimate relations between the sexes. And maybe it would be ok to relax a little and enjoy life including children. Raise responsible, good children who care about others and you'll do the world a favor. Bring up one child to hoard his possessions and fear homelessness, never learning to share or care for others, and, well, that's part of the problem with the world today.

dejisugg
dejisugg

The problem with the European Union right now is that for decades people in Europe have been having one child, now as they face huge population declines in countries like the U.K., France, and Germany, they are forced to open their borders using immigration programs that are designed to help population declines without giving much consideration to proper immigration policies. Who am I to tell anyone to have more than one child? But, on the same token, I do not particularly enjoy the self-justification that people with one sole child always seem to be grasping at. It's cool that you are happy, but there are also a lot of families that have multiple children that consider themselves happy.

DanielHayes
DanielHayes

I read Lauren's new book.  It's too bad many of these people making comments about population decline and selfish parents did not.  Only children, starting from kindergarten(or pre-K), feel like outsiders because of their advanced language and conversational skills, causing many of them to accept, at an early age, a label on themselves that is untrue: that they are selfish and bossy because their parents stopped at one.  The accepted, and erroneous, cultural line goes something like this: "only children are doomed from birth to be unhappy, regardless of parental or community involvement, because they have had too much attention and never had to share".  Although this short article does strongly argue the case for one child families(the homeless anecdote at the beginning was a bit much), Lauren's goal in life is not to convince the world to have small families.  That type of one-size-fits-all answer would be as intellectually irresponsible as saying that everyone should have big families because the human race might die out.  Lauren simply wants to eliminate the stigma of having a one child family by showing that parents of big families are just as likely to screw up their kids as parents of singletons.  So keep on having big families, Lauren is happy for you, but stop judging and demeaning parents that choose to have just one child.  

gmonsen
gmonsen

Yes, sir, more pressure for fewer children.  That actually has happened over the years.  White, educated, fairly well-off Americans are have been having fewer and fewer children for a variety of reasons over the past 4 decades.  Less educated, less well-paid Hispanics and Blacks have much higher birth rates and no evidence of any slowing.  I suggest the author should stop writing in Time and start writing for Jet and Ebony.  They are the majority of the poor and they can least afford the children, yet they have absolutely no interest in having fewer children regardless of the consequences laid out by Lauren.  Just plain stupid.    

iamwaqar
iamwaqar

Very wise decision. Nowadays economy is so poor and inflation is so high that feeding multiple children is not that easy. Property is also shrinking. So its wise to have just one baby. By this we can give him proper education, attention and so on. 

Fully Agreed!!! 

brianjns
brianjns

if everything the author says is true, why bother having any kids at all?

GaryTschosik
GaryTschosik

All social welfare models are built on one generation providing more taxpayers than the next. This is bad news indeed.

EzekielRussell
EzekielRussell

A summary of this can be: 

1. "Having one child makes economic sense" Tell me about it. I have 4 and it doesn't make sense!

2. "Having a child costs 1/4 million"  Don't be silly :)  

3. "Don't tell me I am selfish if I have one child" Ok. Money money money I am not selfish money money money. 

4. "If we weren't judgmental, more people would have less kids" Bad idea. Birth ratio is 2.1 and if it goes under 2 society is not sustainable.

Good article though! It's an interesting topic I think, has a lot of potential, and it seems the writer has good intentions. But it got to go beyond money....into relationships, education issues with one or more children, even philosophical stuff - what is important in life? I love my 4 kids. They will not be a burden to anybody, nobody is. They will leave my house and live their life with great values: giving, loving, helping, working.  Heck, they may even try to change the world! 

rmj142
rmj142

A very wise decision Lauren. One of your off-spring in this world is more than enough.

wscott905
wscott905

    The quality of life is all about money? A lot of people reading this won't be a first child, but go ahead Liberals, go ahead.

Historybuff
Historybuff

Perhaps if we just change presidents, we will be able to avoid the Chinese solution.

A family needs money for children... the point of the article.   With obama and his socialist economics out of the way, the country can recover.

HB


pandjfillmore
pandjfillmore

We have raised 8 children, all college graduates ; doctors, business owners, engineers, teachers, musicians, and artists. I never remember boredom as one of the problems. They will provide much needed social security for many since they are all contributing members of society. They do humanitarian work in third world countries; provide neighborhood enrichment with mother-tot music groups, children's choral groups, dance lessons, piano and violin lessons. They are sharing their talents and worldly goods wherever they are. The world is a better and richer environment because they are in it. They enjoy being together and sharing with each other; all 8 children their spouses and 39 grandchildren. Is everything always easy and perfect? Of course not! But it is grand and wonderful all the same.

mertsj
mertsj

Peddle your slop to the Hispanics and blacks that are changing the country because of their large families.

Ransom_x
Ransom_x

$234000 for one kid???...why even have the one kid, not even considering just the money but also all the time you have to put into it.... Not to mention that there are already too many people in the world already.

Ransom_x
Ransom_x

$234000 for one kid....why even have the one kid, not even considering just the money but also all the time you have to put into it.... Not to mention that there are already too many people in the world already

dblevene
dblevene

Living in China with its One Child Policy gives you a different perspective. In China, they call all the only children "Little Emperors" and "Little Empresses" because they are so spoiled.  The One Child Policy is widely hated by the public and is sure to be abandoned in the next few years.  In any event, a healthy society, one that has hopes and dreams for the future, has lots of children and its growing. A dying society, one that has no hope and no future, doesn't have enough babies and is shrinking. See, e.g., Russia.  Which is the US? A society of hope for the future? Or a dying society, drawing into itself and closed to the future?  

dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

Who's more "selfish": 

1. "Hmm... I won't have kids, therefore I should probably save up a lot of money, because when I'm 85, I'll be the one in charge of myself. That being said, given the ratio of people to jobs and the proliferation of automation, I will probably be fine, as long as nothing too crazy happens (WW3 or some such nonsense)"


2.  "Hmm... BABIES! Yeah, they'll take care of me... just like I'm taking care of? Wait. I'm not taking care of anyone. My parents have to pay for their own caretakers and live in Florida. Doh!"

SchylerEOsborne
SchylerEOsborne

Aren't the backward religious people keeping us back the ones having all the kids? It doesn't make sense to me that we should produce a fraction of the future voters that they are.

VivianBennett-Cohan
VivianBennett-Cohan

What business is it of yours, or anyones how many kids I can have as long as I can love and support them.

We are believing the nonsense about not having enough resources, and Americans are having less kids... But who is having more kids?   The muslims and the latino in our country.

Actually, white americans are having less babies now than the minority groups.....

NoLawyers
NoLawyers

One really great reason for me in hindsight, is that I was good as a one kid parent and really lousy for two. Our second daughter paid for my error in not getting nearly the attention she should have.

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

Only one who sees children as a burden, a balance sheet liability can use words like stretch.  How about people who LOVE kids and make real scarifies to have more than one>  My God I never considered my kids a liability even when I gave up things for myself, or worked harder so they could enjoy growing up, or when I did without so they could have memories.  Only liberals do the opposite...this is why liberals are terrified to allow the science of fetal development to enter the abortion debate...as long as we see the fetus as meaningless tissue, or as long as we see children as a burden to fulfilling our dreams...then and only then will we encounter a Chinese oriented approach to outlawing larger families.  I talk to many adult children who were only children:  yes they MAY have had more attention BUT almost every one admits they would have settled for less to have a brother or sister.  I think that is the point...they get more material stuff, but not always more attention and absolutely miss out on having peers who they can relate to at home.  Being selfish is ok to admit...the author like so many who try to substitute intelligence for guilt falls into the trap of not seeing the benefits, NON economic benefits, in having more than one kid.  Whatever...nothing makes me happier than seeing my adult children get together and laugh about the memories they have as kids, together, learning, growing, experiencing, bound by a bond no only child will ever feel.  The only child may have had more stuff, but my kids have more love for each other...sorry you only children: your selfish parents took things away from you that you will never know.  next?

ObsessedAmerica
ObsessedAmerica

Every time I read an article like this I wonder how does anyone manage to spend so much money on a kid that is not even grateful. Do people feed them gold flakes with diamonds? No, they just spoiled them too much. There are two reasons for that: the culture of worshiping children and inability to assess what is really essential and what is just another useless or even harmful expense. Continued at http://kidobsessedamerica.com/

buckeylee
buckeylee

Wow! not sure where to start here..."Considering the greater flexibility that stopping at one kid allows, it’s no surprise that in a University of Pennsylvania study of 35,000 mothers, those raising only children were the happiest, with each additional child reducing a mother’s well-being". STOP THE PRESSES, dealing with more children is more stressful???, from the same article... "(3) Additional children beyond the first child have a negative effect on subjective well-being for females, while there is no effect for males." ie moms are more stressed than dads over additional kids, sounds like a spousal relationship issue not a children issue.

Also, the author notes.....Perhaps they’d learn, like I have, that we don’t need to stretch ourselves more than we have to.

Wow, so the key to happiness is not trying to excel, sacrifice for others or "excessive" devotion to the next generation, but instead we should focus inward. Somehow this smells of self justification. Of course what do I know, an only child with 3 adopted brothers & sisters, 3 additional step brothers & sisters raised on a school teacher's salary. Oh, also married, 3 grown daughters, one working in the inner city with Teach for America as an ESL teacher, one off to touring the US with a Drum Corp and one finishing up her degree at May Business School @ Texas A&M.


MatthewKilburn
MatthewKilburn

What an incredibly foolish - and dangerous - notion. Lets play a little game of logic for a moment: What happens if everyone has only one child? Within a generation, the population will cut in half. And then in half again, and then in half again. Eventually you will go extinct. Our situation isn't QUITE that dire, but the threat of a population too low to sustain itself is very real.

You say that children are less of an investment in a modern, non-agrarian society. This is not the case. While parents are less likely to rely on their children as a direct means of income, or as workers in the family business...our developed consumer economy and safety net programs are actually MORE dependent on a stable or growing population.

Consider for a moment the economic cost if the birth rates continue to drop. The population will gradually age and the prevalence of available, healthy, young workers to fill jobs and build the economy will shrink. Housing prices will go into a spiral as the elderly go from the large suburban homes they raised their children in to much smaller retirement or mobile homes, to assisted living facilities or nursing homes, to even smaller hospital rooms, to 3' x 8' x 6' graves. Enduring and repetitive economic contraction. Meanwhile, the burden of caring for the elderly will be placed increasingly fall to their increasingly small number of children, who will feel increased economic pressure in caring for their parents (and in some cases, grandparents), and feel less able to have children of their own.

Far from encouraging or even accepting only one child (medical and other circumstances aside), we should be encouraging three or four children per family. An ideal population growth rate would be about 1.395% per year (a "double, then double again" in a century rate) - slightly less than double what it is today.

chas0001
chas0001

I understand that there is always pressure to try and make ends meet the more children you have, that is a given.  It is also short sighted in a large number of ways. First, maybe the average person spends the amount of money per child as expressed in this article but it is not asking the right question.  The real question is what is the marginal expense (additional expense) for each  child.  I quarntee you that it is far below the cost that is being touted in this article.  As an example, if you were to spend $300,000 on each child for the first 22 years of their life you would spend over $13,500 per year.  I can quarantee you that is far above the cost that is necessary to provide a safe and supportive life for your child.

In the long run though an even more important issue needs to be dealt with.  That is the fact that any nation requires a woman to have an average of 2.1 childern per household just to maintain your population.  A sure way to destroy your economy and way of life for your nation is to have only one child per family.

FredOssefogva
FredOssefogva

Children are life's greatest blessing and Malthus has been proven wrong over and over and over again.  Stop navel gazing and spending so much money on yourselves and raise a beautiful, precious child to be an intelligent, responsible adult.

moderateGuy
moderateGuy

I question any possible reason for liberals to have any children.

beckmill
beckmill

If you want a society that gets older and older with fewer and fewer workers entering the labor force, then have at it. You might want to check out the demographics of Russia while you're at it. The economics are pretty simple: excluding the effects of immigration, how happy would an only child be to learn that she or he had to pay enough in social-security taxes to support both parents in their old age?

readwriteandblue
readwriteandblue

I am struggling to believe some of the comments here.

 I do not advocate a 1 child policy I am however bound to it economically at present.

I don't wish to raise my child to be uneducated barefoot and pregnant, who's only aspiration is to reproduce more of the same.

The US where I currently live is hard for many right now. If you don't care whether your child/children ends up on stripper pole for a living that is your business, but do not tell others that they shouldn't desire a better life for theirs.

joerockbottom
joerockbottom

Beyond economics it's really illuminating to consider the implications of one-child per family. Imagine: no brothers, sisters. No uncles or aunts. No cousins. Just grandparents. It leads to a very different society altogether. They are now realizing in China what the implications are for their traditional society that was built on extended family relations. For most, those relations have largely been eliminated. 

readwriteandblue
readwriteandblue

You comments about people saying " that money shouldn’t be a factor in deciding to have more children. If you express concern about how much children cost, then you’ve clearly got your priorities wrong. You’ll make it work, they tell you. Don’t be selfish."  

I hear time and time again., I have 1 child and cannot afford another. The Money is important. It's how my child has the best health care we can afford, why my child will get the best education we can afford, why my child gets..   you get the picture. 

For many working parents a second child is luxury that cannot be afforded and to those that say "you 'll find the money" the answer should be  " .. and are you going to give it to me ?  if not please remain silent , you clearly have no idea of what you are talking about".



Keirnal
Keirnal

Obviously the author needs to justify her position on how many children she's raising.  She obviously feels judged, rightly or wrongly.  The issue isn't how lazy the woman is, and reading below I did see the post by the mother who has had 2 kids with a husband that stays home and raises them, so it's not hard to imagine that in plenty of cases it's the laziness of the father also.  The true concern though is how those children are raised.  I see plenty of examples of only children growing up with an entitlement attitude that is corroding the core of our society, unable to accept differences in opinion because they were able to choose their friends and didn't have to learn to live with people they didn't choose to live with.  They are largely spoiled by their parents (as intentional or unintentional as it is) because they don't need to share the attention with anybody. There's a large disservice by the parents to these children anyway because they have already made the decision to live for themselves rather than for future generations by admitting that they want to do whatever they want.  This mentality also brings a degradation to the value of life because parents with this mentality are already more likely to abort than not.

ObsessedAmerica
ObsessedAmerica

Americans spend way too much money on their kids, most of it totally unnecessarily. A kid does not need thousands of toys and other expensive gadgets that end up in the garbage and harm the environment. Kid-obsessed Americans should cut back on unnecessary child-related expenses like all the plastic kinder crap, way too many extracurricular activities, snacks and all that unhealthy stuff (it is cheap, but they buy huge amounts of it) and gas for driving the kid back and forth. Americans are way too kid-obsessed. Please check out kidobsessedamerica.com

MikeHanson
MikeHanson

Ridiculous and specious. 

I went to the USDA calculator and saw the "estimate" on how much it cost for my four children. It said I would spend $21,372 in housing, $14,758 in childcare, $7,995 in transportation, and $6,349 in food .... $62,500 in all. Bear in mind that the USDA's estimate is my marginal cost. And then I got to thinking about these numbers, I don't spend anything on childcare as my wife only works two days a week and even when all four are enrolled in out parish's school, the out of pocket cost will be about $7000/year, so where do they come up with such a ridiculously high number for education and childcare. The $21,372 in housing is equally puzzling. My mortgage, homeowners insurance, and property taxes don't barely come out to that .. is the USDA saying I would live rent and tax free without the kids ?!? My grocery bill before children was about $50/week, its not about $120. That $60/week comes out to $3,120/year, half of what the estimator calculated. 

If you want to have one child, or then children or no children .. that's fine, but don't try and peddle your perspective on whats right by citing some BS study. 


greencake
greencake

Why are so many commenting that it's "selfish" to only have ONE kid? Is it selfish to have zero kids? Three instead of four? What if you're happy with only one? The author seems to be. Is that wrong? Different strokes for different folks. Some are happy with 5, some 2, some 0. There's nothing wrong with either number. I just don't get all the anger. Would you rather have someone popping out more kids JUST so they can get more government assistance (I, personally, know someone who did that!) I think THAT is the bigger issue. The reality is that kids cost money. More kids costs more money. Plain and simple. I think that is the point the author is trying to make. It's all about values. If she values her current lifestyle and doesn't want to "make due" then that's her prerogative. In the same vain, another mom with 6 kids values her lifestyle and doesn't mind "making due" because she gets more joy out of having more kids. Different strokes...

ChrisLerch
ChrisLerch

There really is a cult of procreation out there. I have three kids, but not because my wife and I felt duty bound to reproduce. I know people, Catholics mostly, who think it is their duty to spawn, and people who don't are selfish and wrong. That's crap. More is not better. Comments here to the contrary are by people laughable in their self-righteousness. 

SeanR456
SeanR456

Just as some people can't handle the pressure of certain occupations, the same is true for parenting.  Ms. Sandler clearly isn't equiped to raise multiple children well, other people are capable of doing so.  I'm glad Ms. Sandler stopped at one child, any future children from her may very well have been a detriment to society.  Ms Sandler knowing her limits is a good thing.  

On the other hand, there are people who can and do successfully raise multiple children and those people doing so are also a good thing for society.  My parents happily raised 5 children, all 5 of us went to college paid for by our parents (4 of us have multiple degrees or post grad degrees).  Now my siblings and I all happily raise multiple children.  Whether it be genetics or temperament or whatever my family is clearly able to raise multiple children with out a negative economic or mental impact.