Why No One Wants Kids Anymore
It seems like it’s becoming increasingly common for the youth to put off having kids, with many of them deciding they won’t have them at all. For some, being a stay-at-home-mom/dad is looked down upon, and having a flourishing career is considered “more respectable.”
Considering women in Western, developed, nations aren’t having as many children as they used to, it begs the question: what is the future going to look like? If our birth rate continues to decline, what then?
The demands of a career, a job, and children seem like too much for the average person. When asked if they intend to have kids, most people will say something like “eventually,” or, “yeah, later,” or something of the sort.
A lot of people don’t see much of a benefit to having kids in the first place. They might ask, “why should I have kids?” It’s not like they’re morally obligated to do so.
And as wages fall, housing rates go up, corporations make billions of dollars, and jobs become more stressful, the chance of living a happy life as a working parent seem slim.
Why It Matters
The fact of the matter is that Western nations need young people to pay for old people to live. In Singapore, in particular, they’re faced with a total fertility rate of 1.24, far below what’s considered to stop the population from getting smaller: 2.1.
The United States, Germany, Canada, Japan, and other Western nations, are not having enough kids to replace their population.
It’s one of the main reasons for the influx of immigrants in the last forty years. We need a young workforce and have resorted to immigration.
***Before this article goes on, it’s important to note there isn’t a value judgment on either group: People who choose to have kids or people who don’t.
This is just a look at what forces have contributed to modern culture.
In the past, society considered having children as a give-in, it was something everyone did without question. But nowadays, children are a lifestyle choice, the same way being polyamorous is a lifestyle choice.
Even though being a parent is probably one of the most vital things in the world, its importance to the average person is pretty much gone.
For women, it’s cool to be a lawyer and it’s not cool to be a stay-at-home mom. There’s a social stigma to not having a flourishing career. It’s almost as if being a mom is choosing to “not be independent.”
It’s Great People Can Make Their Own Decisions
Obviously, it’s great that people can make decisions for their own happiness. But we have a problem because we need workers to keep the economy afloat. We have to pay for the aging population, although some would argue that corporate profits are so vast that they could easily pay for senior citizens’ retirement.
In the next ten to fifteen years, a lot of people will move into retirement homes. On account of the baby boom, we saw a huge population growth after the Second World War, and a lot of those people are getting ready to enter a home.
What’s ironic, is that nations which can’t afford to have kids, have the most, and the ones that can, don’t.
Underdeveloped cities and countries typically have the highest birth rates, with economics, culture, and religion playing an important role in those rates. The lack of education and contraceptives contribute.
But as nations become more and more prosperous, more people enter the workforce. And people just stop having the time and money to raise families.
It’s Tough Out Here
Today, it costs a lot of money to raise a family, unless you’re living out in a small town, where rent and housing mortgages are cheaper.
But even then, the prices of homes in suburbs around, say, for example, Toronto, have shot up in the last few years.
Commuters live about an hour away from a major city and drive to work for hours every single day: one hour there and an hour back. They do this because the cost of living outside the city is much cheaper, but there are no jobs in the small communities.
They have no option but to travel to the city every single day. Taking into account that the average person works 8 hours a day, that means ten hours of your day every day are devoted to going to work, probably at a job that you hate with a passion.
For this reason, among many others, people just aren’t as interested in raising families as they used to be.
Chained To A Job
And can we blame them? By having children before the age of thirty, you have no choice but to work for someone else’s business and under their total authority.
If you’re working as a sales representative, for instance, and you just had a kid and bought a house, the sales manager knows he’s got you. You need that job, more than he needs you.
The moment you have a child with someone, there are many, many, many bills to pay, and if they don’t get paid, too bad for you.
And frankly, it seems like having a kid is just not worth it.
By being a single person without a partner, and not having kids, you’re free to do whatever you want, go wherever you want, and live in whatever way you deem fit, without the burden of having to pay extravagant bills.
The Cost Is High
And for women, the price is even higher. Mom’s have to give up a good portion of their life to a child. It affects their mood, health, and the look of their body for the rest of their lives.
They need a good person who can stick around and help them take care of it and pay the bills. Otherwise, it will be just too much money, and a pregnant woman who can’t work can’t manage to do all of that.
It’s just too much.
What’s discussed here doesn’t even scratch the surface of all of the costs that come along with being a parent.
It’s a 20-year investment, even more, because if you plan on taking care of the kid’s college or university education, they’re not going to be an adult with their own place until they’re like 23-24-years-old, if that. Some say that it costs $250,000 to raise one kid.
And a lot of them aren’t even moving out these days. For some, it takes until they’re in their thirties to move out. Academics attribute some of the blame for this on the economy, but that’s an insufficient answer to the problem.
Part of the reason is people in their twenties have massive dreams.
Social Media Is A Bullshit Machine
On account of being connected to social media all of the time, they can peek in on other people’s lives, and understand how the top 1% are living every single day.
Social media is like the fear-of-missing-out machine, the machine that makes your life look infinitely cooler than it actually is. And it’s hard to be a parent, changing diapers and what not while looking at Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat, wondering what could’ve been.
Either way, on account of not wanting to miss out on everything in life, a lot of people are inspired to chase after what they want.
Twenty-somethings in the middle to upper-middle class have a hard time giving up their dreams of being a superstar DJ or a rap prodigy.
They want to be a rap icon, travel to 100 different countries, have a thriving career, AND have kids, all before thirty-years-old.
They have a hard time accepting the fact that at some point, they might have to settle down and figure out how to pay the bills in some way, in a way that’s hopefully fulfilling and also high-paying enough to actually pay the rent (mortgage) on time each month.
However, what we forget sometimes is that you might end up taking a job that isn’t really fulfilling.
We tell everyone they’re capable of doing everything in life, of fulfilling their dreams. But, that might not be the case.
And, with the right amount of work, it’s possible, within reason. But the truth is that not everyone can have a viral song like Post-Malone. You probably won’t see a career blossom seemingly overnight.
Society is unequal, and people are unequal in their physical and mental attributes.
While a lot of these things can be built up over time; including work-ethic, the ability to be persistent, and so on and so forth, if you’re not the smartest and can’t keep at something every single day, you probably won’t succeed.
In other words, your skill set and innate abilities might not match the requirements of the career of your dreams.
It’s a tough pill to swallow. But it’s the truth.
On the other hand, maybe it’s far less complicated than this.
Maybe, we’re just witnessing another transitional phase in society. Maybe, it’s all just a changing social norm.
Job opportunities, the time it takes to finish school, views on relationships, and the nature of life itself has changed over the past 50 years.
Throughout most of our history, society expected a woman to be a mom, and that was her role.
The Evolution Of Society
Women’s situation in North America, for example, has changed so much just in the last 40 years, and it’s not even one generation.
A lot of people forget about history.
Two hundred years ago, the idea of having an “adolescence” – a period where you do nothing but hang out with friends, go to school, and spend a majority of your time worrying about “fitting in” – didn’t even exist.
A 10-year-old in the 1700’s was already a worker. There was no “chill” phase of your life. You came out of your mother’s womb, and as soon as you could walk, you began working.
Nowadays, we have another transitional phase.
In the advent of a brand-new information-based economy and less entry-level jobs, people are in less of a rush to have a family on account of the social acceptance of premarital sex, cohabitation and the use of birth control.
As a result, women today push off pregnancy so they can actually make choices in their life.
Correspondingly, there’s a new deadline-age: 30-years-old. That’s the time when people think to themselves, “Ok, now it’s time to commit to something.”
And past that point, people are no longer proud of you for “looking for your identity,” “traveling,” or whatever it is that you’re doing.
Social shame kicks in; people start wondering what it is about you that’s so off-putting that you don’t have a family, a girlfriend/boyfriend, and so on and so forth.
Society thinks of you an adult now when you’re 30-years-old, rather than 12-years-old, like 300 years ago.
Historically, society looked at 13-year-olds as adults, explaining why the law considered sexual relationships between grown men and 11-year-olds to be “ok.”
Times Have Changed
However, sociologists and psychologists realized adolescence was an important phase in a human being’s development.
We created institutions to go along with their discovery: ie, schools, daycare, and so on and so forth. Before then, it wasn’t uncommon for girls to be a mom when they were still in the adolescent phase.
And not only has the line for adulthood been pushed an extra 18 years, people now understand they really don’t have to obey old-school traditions and cultural conventions like they had to in the past.
If you want to get divorced, for instance, you can just do it. Even just 60-years-ago, society considered divorce as a shame, something you wouldn’t tell the neighbors.
Middle-Class Lifestyle Isn’t Quite As Appealing As You Think
Not everyone had the greatest childhood. Some grew up in a neighborhood and looked around and didn’t like what they saw.
They saw a lot of very unhappy married couples, people with terrible jobs, paying for unnecessary bills, buying new shiny items every once in awhile to keep up with the Joneses, drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence; all a result of extreme unhappiness with life.
Is there any reason why people in their twenties today should look at this as something to aspire to? If a 22-year-old was to get married, have kids, and buy a house, the amount of debt you would have to go into would be soul-crushing.
And not only that, all of the other kids are going off to University, partying, studying, hanging out with friends. They’re “having the best times of their lives,” while you’re changing diapers and worrying about your mortgage.
And as mentioned at the beginning of the article, if you’re on Instagram and Facebook, you can’t help yourself but look at other people’s lives and feel bad, jealous and resentful, like you’re missing everything life has to offer.
At The End Of The Day
It just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s hard enough out here to make a living, that having kids is just another massive expense on top of everything.