"This suggests that political stability depends on young men being able to pursue their romantic dreams. This would apply in any country, not just African countries. In nations in the West, an important limiting factor is the ability to get one’s own apartment. That is, the ratio of average male wage to average rent. In the USA, the happiest year for this ratio was 1958, when people were spending 22% of their income on rent, on average. Not by coincidence, this was the peak year of the Baby Boom. In some sense, it was the best year in history to be a young white male in the USA. It was the year when it was easiest for an 18 year old male to get out of high school, get their own apartment, marry their high school sweetheart, and start a family. And of course, young people did this in huge numbers, which is why 1958 remains the peak year for teenage pregnancy in the USA."
Are they actually preventing couples from having children, or are couples simply moving away from those areas in order to have their children elsewhere?
And on top of that, are the kind of people who move to NYC or SF already the kind of people planning not to have a kid over the next 5-10 years, or ever?
Taking a quick look at the original paper, the authors don't appear to address these potential factors at all.
For what it is worth, NYC as a whole is quite child friendly. Take a stroll around Park Slope and you're tripping over gaggles of children. Now San Francisco? I'm amazed when I see someone under 18.
It's really hard to estimate birth rates by observing people, as our brains just aren't equipped to handle the numbers present. We see the hundreds of children, and flat out refuse to believe there's a decline in births.
I might as well say that the ratio of rats to people in the city is one-to-eight-million because I saw one rat this morning.
Park Slope has a median real estate price of close to $2 million, and average family incomes well into the six figures.
I once posited that there are so many gay couples in San Francisco in part because people who might, oops, end up pregnant just can't afford it. Homosexual couples who want kids have to arrange it. It doesn't happen accidentally because your birth control failed.
In my personal experience, I'd say it's preventing. I live in Los Angeles and if I lived somewhere else I would have bought a house and had a child with my partner earlier.
We thought about moving, but our networks and support systems are here as is the free baby-sitting provided by two sets of grandparents.
That said, this paper seems to be mostly simple descriptive statistics
According to this:
Granted I'm all-ways amazed that in the West on one hand the news proclaim and medical professionals to have children when the women are in there 20's. Although the support and service's such as cheap day-care and family centered activities are completely lacking to support that mind-set.
The message most young people receive is `It is healthy to have children when you're younger`. The reality is `Yes you can, but I hope you like living in a studio apartment counting your monies well all your colleges/friends are having fun`.
That and in today modern world having a child in your 20's is more or less considered social suicide.
The only to maintain a life-style and support structure for young women would be to find a partner who can support them and their child well at the same time maintaining their quality of life. Something such partners are very small so there is a lot of competition for this type of partner.
For me I chose to get my education and start a career before even thinking about starting a family. Now I'm in my mid 30's I'm really starting to think I may not have played this very smart. I'd have been better off spending more time looking for a partner in my 20's. I'm a man, I hate to think what this looks like for a women who has a more limited fertility time span than I do.
Don't take this the wrong way when I read you're in your mid 30's I basically cheered! Go out and meet new people and experience life that you have some money/experience under your belt.
Personally if I had time to rewind the clock, I wouldn't of got Married (here in the west). The legal system, law is blantly sexiest against men it's beyond a joke. Seeing from first hand account of this myself.
This would seem to indicate that many jobs are bullshit, wages are suppressed, or there is artificial scarcity in the day care business.
To my understanding talking to the ladies at the child-care center's. The center is required to not exceed x number of children per day/per hour. They can only hire people with the clearance to supervise children after getting their Certificate 3 in child care. Then the staff need to under-go skills/training on their time to improve working with children.
Then you have insurance for the workers, building and also the necessary security and fire drills to be conducted regularly and kept up-to-date.
You have over-time pay, inclusive of when parents are late to pick up the children from day care.
That rent then usually gets pumped straight into the bottom line of some REIT or a millionaire's property portfolio.
Back when property taxes were higher, building rents were lower (because as you pointed out, supply usually meets demand) and those taxes helped pay for things like, well, childcare.... rather than yachts.
But sure, we have regulations that keep children safe too, and it's true that they impose a cost.
It’s a barrier, but so is a Masters in Education. My mother had one, as well 15+ years of classroom experience, and still found it less economically favorable to teach 25 kids vs. directly care for my brother.
Though I don't have the numbers with me but here in Australia Asian families out-source the raring of infant's and children to the grand-parents. Although talk to any Western family (especially baby boomers) they want nothing to do with raising grand-children.
One big factor is the number of convicted felons, ~10% for the general population and significantly higher for the un/underemployed, that's a huge amount of the potential workforce gone. Another win for the war on drugs.
Speaking as a parent, I don't consider every Tom, Dick and Henrietta off the street as equivalent caretakers for my child. The pool of potential child care workers is much, much lower than "all of humanity".
Maybe it's the first and second categories who tend to end up in large cities. And maybe it's the third category who tend to live in the poorest regions. That is rather consistent with the standard understanding that education and economic development tend to reduce population growth.
The market exists in other countries: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-island-where-chinese-mother...
I am surprised american parents don't hedge their bets by getting a EU citizenship for their kid. If anything, the kid may benefit from free healthcare if they get something bad as an adult!
Germany: Children born on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents acquire German citizenship at birth, if at least one parent has a permanent residence permit (and had this status for at least three years) and the parent was residing in Germany for at least eight years.
France: Children born in France (including overseas territories) to at least one foreign parent who is also born in France automatically acquire French citizenship at birth.
Portugal: A child born in Portuguese territory to who does not possess another nationality is a Portuguese citizen. Also, a person born to foreign parents who were not serving their respective States at the time of birth is a Portuguese citizen if the person declares that they want to be Portuguese and provided that one of the parents has legally resided in Portugal for at least five years at the time of birth.
The rule is as complex as the French law can be... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_nationality_law#French_...
But basically, children born to foreign parents become French at their majority if they lived most of their childhood in France.
If you are very close to term, they won't let you fly at all.
I think the only viable option here if we want children (and their parents) in cities -- which would require buy-in from the older generation -- is to raise property / land taxes and use this to afford better schools and pre-K (so you're only on the hook for the first few years of the child's life), and to build more housing of course.
If anything birth rates are higher in the lower end of the socioeconomic scale than in the middle and higher end currently.
We rather rent an apartment across the street from Hyde Park have 2-3 big vacations each year and do a weekend in Europe every other weekend or so than have kids.
And this is not even that much of a conscious decision kids were just never discussed other than the odd “vasectomy commercial” remark when an air raid siren in a trolley passes by.
There is just something different about this generation and it’s not just the socioeconomic issues that some millennial mostly those who were born in the mid-late 90s onwards are having (80s “millennials” are in a pretty good spot IMO).
Whether it’s selfishness or infantilism or something less I don’t know but this isn’t about money.
Poor people never had problems having kids, heck they never had problems more kids than the average.
Educated people also didn’t had a problem having kids my mother was pregnant during Uni with my older brother gave birth and was back after 2 weeks, when she had me she was teaching and basically had birth came back and we’re going home to breast feed me between classes, I don’t know of anyone who would do this today not saying they don’t exist but all my relationships never were with someone that would be willing to sacrifice or work as hard to have a kid as my mother did.
Rent is high but not much higher than SF about £3000 a month total cost for a 2 bed apartment.
This is doable for many professional couples with a decent job in London say £65000 which is £3800 a month after tax (couple combined pre-tax salary of say £130-150,000 or higher, so combined monthly of 7000-8000 or more post tax).
Myself, my partner and our friends fall into this category as we earn high 5 figures to low 6 figure salaries and we aren’t wealthy despite of having a pretty good lifestyle.
Compared to some guy in middle of nowhereshire that makes £22000 a year if they are lucky we might be considered rich but compared to real money we aren’t any different than the help.
The only argument you have for not being 'wealthy' is that you're spending all your dosh! There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm just trying to show you aren't anywhere near the median or mode.
Being on a good salary means that you can keep a decent lifestyle, however the moment you are off it it's over you have some savings but they won't last you for long, wealth is essentially the independent means to secure financial independence to you and likely your children.
And I never said that I'm near the median, but 65-80K isn't that much for London even for late 20's early 30's that's pretty much a run of the mill salary for most general IT roles with some decent experience (5-10 years), and finance and plenty of other sectors would also get you there.
It's not particularly hard to get into the top 3-1% of income in the UK especially for what I would say the average demographics of HN, however getting to the 3-1% of wealth in the UK is a whole other story.
EDIT: The UK likes statistics so...
It looks like the total household wealth needed to be in the 1% in the UK is 2,872,575 GBP to be in the top 10% it's 1,048,537 GBP, so please tell me how some one who's making even 100,000 a year pre tax is considered a single digit percenter?
Responding to a few individual points:
Take the 100k amount -> after tax income is ~65k
Double that for a couple ("household wealth") = 130k
housing = 36k (3k a month)
living costs = 30k (based on the fact plenty of people with much lower salaries live in London)
savings = 64k
It'd take a little under 11 years for 64k of savings per annum to hit 1M, using long-term index returns, and less than 16 years with no compounding.
If you have a mortgage, two thirds of your housing costs would also be going to 'savings' i.e. increasing your wealth - that's another 24k a year, which would also compound pretty rapidly.
So you could be increasing your household net worth by around 90k per year, which would rapidly put you near the top of the wealth distribution.
Regardless, none of this talk about your high income and low-or-not wealth refutes the fact that you are far from the median or mode, which is the entire point of the comment you were responding to... "drawing conclusions from that is meaningless as vast majority of millennials are financially struggling to even think about that."
Food and rent and utilities sum to about a 1/3rd of the combined total salary, a big vacation is 1-2 months rent weekend trips in Europe can easily be done on less than £500 heck even under £250 for a city tour flights can be found for <£100 for 2 via low-cost deals of the week, 1-2 nights in a hotel isn’t expensive either so just food since most stuff you visit like museums etc tend to be free or very cheap in Europe.
The price gouging - excuse me, "dynamic pricing" - the travel industry savages families with amounts to nothing less than a punitive tax on having children.
On an anecdotal note I always thought that the way children are raised could change, and maybe should change to incorporate both young parents and earlier retirement and that is to effectively have the child care taken care off by the grandparents, basically having kids as early as possible (18-24) and then have the grandparents act as the primary caregiver during the first 10-13 years as that that point they would be around 40 and effectively by the time the kids grow up and have kids of their own you have now established yourself in a position to be a primary caregiver for what is now your own grandchildren.
This might sound dystopian but I'm not entirely sure how we'll cope with not needing to do manual labor (even at home, so no need for little helpers), women seeking career (nothing wrong with that, but man can't get pregnant) and the fact that despite living longer than ever our optimal reproductive age remains more or less the same.
I believe DINK is less about lifestyle as much as it is about obtaining purchasing power that exceeds dual income families with children. IIRC, the USDA put the cost of your first child at $250k over 18 years and that did not include college.
$250,000 is a lot of money towards a home on a 30 year mortgage. I worry that couples who want children will be priced out almost completely by DINKs.
Then entertainment, wow, the entertainment that’s available at the push of a button. Every song, every tv show, every movie, right in your own apartment! Massively multiplayer games, message boards, Wikipedia; the sum of human knowledge in your pocket.
And you can create stuff, and share it with millions of people without even leaving your chair. Code, music, art, whatever — make it this morning, 100k views by lunch.
There is SO MUCH to do, to make, to share, to learn — our world has gotten so so big just in the last generation that I think I’d be surprised if the birth rate didnt go down. There are just too many other things vying for our finite attention.
I think you're contradicting yourself here.
If you believe it matters whose lineage wins at natural selection, then those parents are in fact right and you are wrong.
If you believe that it doesn't matter, or that it matters less than having your childless fun, then you shouldn't find it frustrating that their genes will win an unimportant game.
A correlation is shown, but no causation.
If I needed to speculate, even without resorting to hidden variable impacts, I'd say the market for 'exclusive' housing in less child friendly environments would tend to be dominated by singles and couples with large disposable incomes, potentially resulting from being more career than family focused.
'We can't financially afford having another baby, so we wont' does not seem to hold at all as a rule for primary driver in both present and historic worldwide reproduction data. If anything, it's the reverse.
It would be very difficult to pinpoint with any accuracy why people are delaying or forgoing parenthood. Some reasons may be very personal or may be viewed as insensitive and may keep someone from stating the real reason why they choose not to have children. They may also may not be able to have children and give a reason because they do not want to share what they may see as something very private.
Maybe this article would be better titled “Is high rent contributing to the decline ..... in high density areas?”
1. housing costs --> economizing on housing --> not having room for children
2. housing (and other) costs --> higher earning --> longer working hours for both (prospective) parents --> not having time for children.
It would be interesting to know whether people are not producing kids because they can't afford more space or because they can't afford to sacrifice income for childrearing.
Aside, the US fertility rate has taken a steep dive since the Great Recession - during, and for a while after which, the rents were (at least in absolute terms) quite a bit lower.
I have four kids myself, so I’d like to think I understand at least some of the issues fairly well.
> Humans have a trigger that suppresses fertility when there are too many people around