I think it is a safe assumption that most of the current students on this campus are not thinking about having kids right now. Juggling a part-time job and classwork is already hard enough, and throwing a child into the equation would probably be disastrous on a student’s mental health. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, it seems most Americans share the same mindset.
According to the study, as of 2011, Birthrates are approaching an all-time low (63.2 births per 1,000 women), and are at the lowest this country has experienced since 1920 (for women ages 15-44).
So, why are more Americans refusing to have kids? I believe it is because people understand the burden children can potentially become, and having kids is a commitment that prevents these people from doing what they want.
Once you have a child, the life you have previously lived completely vanishes. Everything must be invested into that child that has just been brought into the world. Time, money, resources, patience, etc. will all be depleted and exhausted by the time that child leaves the nest.
Not to mention, having a child under the wrong circumstances can be detrimental to a child, as well as to the marriage or relationship between the parents. Children can be enormous financial burdens to a married couple, and according to the cost calculator on babycenter.com, it costs a couple living in the Midwest $258, 244 to raise a baby until it is 18 (if the couple were to pay for their baby’s college education).
That is insane. No wonder my parents were always worrying about money.
But do kids make parents have a sense of self-worth and happiness? According to an article published by TIME, it depends on a variety of different categories.
The article states that “age; marital status; income and moral social support; and the [child’s personality]” all have an impact on the happiness and well-being of the parents. Younger couples tend to express more dissatisfaction towards parenting, while older couples are more satisfied with their decision to raise a child. In my opinion, young people feel dissatisfaction because their lives have been turned upside-down, and they feel a little regretful about having a child so early. Older couples tend to have all their ducks in a row, so to speak, making them more capable of raising a child without as many qualms.
There is a definite argument in regards to not having kids. More free time, less expenses, less stress and fewer burdens all are incredibly appealing. Life is short, and due to recent studies, Americans seem to think that refraining from having children is the best way to experience it. But, even if the recent trend is to live a child-free life, do not expect it to continue. Humans will always have a biological urge to reproduce, and the census believes this as well. According to the Census Bureau, it predicts the population will grow by 33 percent by 2060.
I’m not trying to convince people to not have kids. I want kids someday. But there is an abundance of good reasoning out there explaining why people feel the need to abstain from having them. In today’s economy, that should surprise no one. People can barely take care of themselves, let alone children.
Chris Chipman is a junior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.