Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Who Knew the US Workforce is a Surrogate Stork?

I just read an interesting article in The New York Times on low birth rates in Europe. Believe it or not US of A has a higher birth rate and possibly due to work place flexibility and father involvement. Although we don't have the European social programs it is easier for parents to work more flexible hours and to leave and re-enter the workforce.

There are lots of other overtones in this article relating to immigration and religion but I'm interested in knowing what would make you want to have a 3rd child (or a second if you only have one)? For any childless readers - how many do you want to have and why?

14 comments:

Nancy said...

If you ask my husband why he wanted 3, he'll tell you that it's in case one kills the other off, you still have two. (totally joking of course!!) I'm not sure why we settled on 3, but that was the plan before we even got married - and continued to be the plan even though the first 2 were twins (which turned out to be a good thing cuz there's NO WAY I'm getting pregnant again!) :)

Stacey said...

Considering that the world population is expected to be 7 billion shortly, just 12 years after it hit 6 billion I say bring on the "lowest-low" population trends. What we should be more concerned about is regulating birth rates in already crowded countries. I think China's population program has done wonders although the inequality in the gender ratio may have far reaching impacts. In the US it is a matter of affordability. Several WSJ Juggle posts have talked about the "luxury" of a third child. I find myself agreeing. Of course I don't have any kids yet so check back in a few years and I might think differently.

Theresa said...

I am all for low birth rates too. I think that part of the reason that the birth rates are low in at least some areas of Europe is because their social programs work correctly - ie, mothers don't have children so that they can collect more in their welfare check like many do here - the system here is broken. I feel OK saying that because I know some of my own relatives that have had children in order to collect more $$. And don't think that it has nothing to do with the current issues in Gloucester - many of these girls have mothers on welfare - when they turn 18, no more checks for their own mothers. So, the "burden" shifts to them. F-ed up, isn't it? For those who wonder how I know this with certainty, I grew up in Gloucester (and DID NOT actually go to school there, ever). Sorry for getting on my soapbox, this isn't the forum for this discussion.

You asked how many children I am planning to have. I have no children and grew up as an only child. I am planning to have one. If I win the lottery and feel like we can support another, then two. I view children as a luxury item, sort of like driving a BMW. I am sure that's crazy to many people, but it's the way I feel after seeing so many people disrespect the whole notion of being a parent, etc.

God, I am chatty today. I think that's all for now.

Theresa said...

And before people start thinking I am crazy conservative (I am far, FAR from it), I am all for social programs. They just need to be reformed here in the US, we need to incentivize (I don't think that's a word, but whatever) people to work and lift themselves up from the cycle.

You see why I stick to writing about food. Check out my blog!! http://bostondish.blogspot.com :-)

Goddess in Progress said...

Haha, I'm with Nancy. My husband found a quote once that said "your mother and I always wanted two children. So we had three, because we knew the day would come when we'd have to kill one of you." Heehee.

I always liked the idea of a larger family, maybe 3-4 kids (my dad is one of nine, mom is one of seven, but I have just one brother and two step-siblings), but M only wanted two. The running joke, before we got pregnant, was that we should just have boy/girl twins first and get it all over with. Be careful what you wish for, apparently... :-)

Every stranger on the street assumes we're all done, and M has a tendency to reinforce that assumption. I always say, ask me when they're older. Maybe more, maybe not. I hated being pregnant, but have started to feel a little of that crazy biological pull to have more. Hormones and evolution are powerful, apparently.

But I still ask myself: what would be the point of having another kid? Would I be doing it for me? For my kids? For the kid-yet-to-be-had? Why? Who knows...

Carlasue said...

My dad has 5 brothers. I always loved getting together with all my cousins and aunts and uncles. I grew up with 2 sisters and always wished there was more of us. God-willing, we will have a large family (5 kids maybe?) - we are on our way with 2 buns in the oven and can't wait! Children are a blessing :) Besides, I think more responsible, caring, loving people need to keep reproducing. It seems that the overachievers of the world and those who's genes could maybe produce someone that could make huge positive differences in the world are a lot of times the ones who are choosing to have less children, or no children. I don't want to be judgmental so I won't go into detail about so many people I see around who keep popping kids out but don't take care of them or even want them sometimes! I think it is sad and frustrating. At any rate, I want a big family and I think it is a beautiful gift to be able to do that :)

Mommy, Esq. said...

To put my own 2 cents in - Husband and I watched this terrible movie called "Idocracy" with Luke Wilson. The premise was that all the smart people stopped reproducing or had fewer kids because they understood the expense, etc., while stupid people had many more. In 500 years society was super dumb.

I always tell Husband that we have good genes (well, I do!) so we should pass them on. And to be crass I like the idea of a "spare". Hee, hee.

Allison said...

We're planning to stop at two, but more for financial reasons. I think having 3 kids would be great (Mommyesq must agree that 3 is kind of "our number"), even though at that point the adults are officially outnumbered (some days I feel like I'm already outnumbered with 1 kid!).

I think of the fun I have (still!) with my two sisters and my brother during family vacations and holidays. I want that sense of fun and company for my kids. So an only child is out of the question for us (provided we are fortunate enough to give our son a sibling). But unless we magically happen to improve our standard of living and income, I don't see us having the 3 I might prefer. Not sure if we could afford 3 college educations (heck, not sure we can afford 2!), and we insist on being able to do that for our kids.

What A Card said...

I always wanted three, then we had twins. Which was awesome. And I think I'm done :) Can you imagine having a second set of twins? And on the flip side, can you imagine having a singleton? They must be so lonely! I say that as a singleton...boy, what a gift a twin (or triplets ;) is!

Steve said...

Two. one boy one girl. I'd be happy with one. Or none probably. For a point of reference. I have 18 cousins. On my mother's side alone.

As far as the low vs. high population I'm going to go out on a limb and think I agree with Husband. These things will work out for themselves. Once borders start getting tight in rich nations, we'll stop providing subsidies to poor countries, they'll reach an equilibrium point where the just isn't enough food and no where to go due to changes in immigration policies.

Helen said...

I have different answers when people ask me- I'll see how one goes first, but (not so) secretly, I would love to have a flock- 4, 5. As the much youngest in my family, it was like being an only, and frankly, I was lonely. A family I work with at school has two much older and two much younger, and they call them "Team A and Team B" which I love. Who knows- gotta find someone to put up with me first!

Helen said...

Like Theresa, I feel compelled to addend my conversation. Four or Five is a big wish, if I can't afford it, I will not be popping out four or five. (Especially if I follow in the footsteps of my parents and marry another teacher!) And in the end if I have one healthy and happy kid, I'll be thrilled.

a crapshack in nova said...

I have two, I want a third. We can financially support another. I love my kids to pieces and still feel I have more love to give. I loved being pregnant- I was very fortunate to have had uncomplicated pregnancies. I don't know anyone who thinks of a child as a status symbol... The idea of that is rather disgusting. As is the idea of the government in some way regulating the number of children a family is "permitted" to have.

My understanding is that the US population is growing primarily via immigration and children of immigrants (legal and illegal). I sincerely doubt it has anything to do with "workplace flexibility." Flexible jobs are few and hard to come by- I know, I had to bully my way into one.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything illegal immigrants can't do?

Golly